Part of the BSA Group
EDUCATION LImITED Part of the BSA Group
T H E B S A G U I D E TO B OA R D I N G S C H O O L S • T H E O F F I C I A L G U I D E O F T H E B OA R D I N G S C H O O L S ’ A S S O C I AT I O N • AU T U M N 2 0 2 2
TO BOARDING SCHOOLS
WHAT WILL YOU
DISCOVER? OPEN DAY EVENTS: Open Morning: Sat 1st October – Heathfield Open Morning: Sat 8th October – Rishworth Open Evening: Tues 1st November – Sixth Form Rishworth is a vibrant independent, co-educational, boarding and day school set in 140 acres of stunning rural countryside. With its own Preparatory School, Heathfield, it offers a continuous education for children from age 3 to 18. As well as specified Open Day events, we are welcoming families to visit us for pre-booked personal tours conducted at your convenience. To find out more or to book an appointment, please call
Scholarships & Bursaries available
Flexi & Weekly Boarding available
01422 822 217 or email
Visit us at www.rishworth-school.co.uk or call 01422 822 217 Rishworth, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom HX6 4QA. E: firstname.lastname@example.org
H E AT H F I E L D P R E PA R AT O R Y S C H O O L
View our virtual tour
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / FOREWORD / 01
Foreword Mark Lauder, Headmaster, Strathallan School and BSA Interim Chair, 2022 affect the dynamics and happiness of your household. All boarding schools are united in a deep, shared belief in the value that a highquality modern boarding education can offer families. Boarding schools offer a unique richness of community. They are open, tolerant and vibrant places where education happens 24 hours a day and is deeply embedded. Learning is a way of life not limited to the classroom. A boarding Becoming a parent means you are faced with a bewildering number of choices. Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important decisions of all since a child’s education has a major influence on their current and future wellbeing and their life journey. Thank
education is predicated on relationships and the values that underpin them – respect, tolerance, inclusion, humility and kindness. One of the unique benefits of a boarding education is that it enables pupils to develop many life skills through
you for taking the time to read this Guide.
community living – getting along with
The Guide contains a wealth of information
ease with others, taking up opportunities,
that will enable you to narrow your search for a boarding school and help you find the right match for your child. I hope you are already aware of the benefits of a boarding education – this Guide will help you find out more about the opportunities of different boarding contexts. At the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) we know that choosing a school can be as mystifying as it is exciting. There are so many good boarding schools offering an excellent education. You can choose from rural, town, city, boys, girls, mixed, junior, senior, all-through, sixth-form, all-around, specialist, flexi, weekly, full boarding, state or independent. Or you may want a combination of different schools at different ages. The choice is as broad and flexible as the boarding sector itself – rightly so as every
people different from themselves, being at dealing with setbacks, problem-solving and communicating effectively. Boarding schools welcome parents to be a part of their boarding community. Home–school communication is highly effective and there are many ways to be involved, from attending events to taking up roles on committees. Boarding schools also take time to communicate with and support parents at each stage. In fact, parents often report that the quality of their relationship with their children develops through the boarding experience. The BSA represents more than 600 boarding schools in the UK and overseas. It provides a wide range of services including professional development, government
child and every family have different needs.
relations, communications, safeguarding,
As well as matching a school to your child’s
schools, media, publications, conferences
needs, it is also important to consider whether logistically you can make the school you choose work with all the other constraints on your family life, as this will
health education and immigration advice for and events. We hope you find the Guide helpful in choosing the best boarding school for your child.
Mark Lauder began his teaching career at Shiplake College and has a wealth of boarding experience. He has held senior positions at Felsted School and Ashville College, where he was Head for seven years. Now in his sixth year as Headmaster of Strathallan School, he has also been an ISI team inspector and a school governor and he served as BSA Chair in 2020.
Mark Lauder, Headmaster, Strathallan School and BSA Interim Chair, 2022
News Choosing and assessing schools What about boarding schools?
Barnaby Lenon, Headmaster, Harrow School, 1999–2011 and Chairman, Independent Schools Council (ISC)
Out of the ordinary: realising the potential of every child
Schools together in partnership
Supporting character development in a boarding school
Building resilience in boarding schools
Dr Joe Spence, Master, Dulwich College
Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools
Ofsted inspection of boarding schools
The importance of good governance
Turning minimum standards into excellence
Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI)
Dale Wilkins, Senior Director, BSA Group
Boarding lessons from COVID-19 Natalie Bone, Head, Sherborne Prep Charlie Jenkins, Head, Shebbear College John Browne, Head, Stonyhurst College
What makes a good boarding school? Barney Durrant, Head, St Lawrence College
Boarding at an independent school
Julie Robinson, Chief Executive, Independent Schools Council (ISC)
Paul Sanderson, Headmaster, Bloxham School
Thomas Garnier, Headmaster, Pangbourne College
Boarding schools and philanthropy: 70 engendering an ethos of kindness and compassion Matthew Godfrey, Senior Deputy Head, Downe House School
Looking after children and young people’s mental health after COVID-19
David Walker, Deputy Head (Pastoral and Wellbeing), Wellington College
School visits: questions and answers
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – making a difference to young people’s lives
Faith in our schools
Learning modern foreign languages at a boarding school
Specialist schools – arts, drama, music
Twenty-first century learning – embracing technology to drive a culture of learning
The importance of creativity
Recognising the physical and mental value of sport
The importance of pastoral care
Boarding in the North of England
Boarding at sixth-form colleges
BSA Certified Agent and Guardian schemes
BSA certified guardians
BSA certified agents
Graham Able, Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus Dale Wilkins, Senior Director, BSA Group
Adrian Underwood, Education Consultant
Graham Able, Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus
Schools founded by the Military Schools with a military history
The benefits of state boarding
Choosing state boarding
State boarding schools
The benefits of sixth-form boarding
Life at a state boarding school
Jonathan Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Sapientia Education Trust (SET)
Emma Fielding, Principal, Richard Huish College Dr Chris Pyle, Head, Lancaster Royal Grammar School
Rachel Rees, Deputy Head Pastoral, Monmouth School for Girls
Louise Orton, Senior Deputy Head (Academic), Sherborne Girls
State boarding schools Will Chuter, Head, Cranbrook School
Ruth Marvel, CEO, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Victoria Rose, Director of Art, Dauntsey’s Damian Todres, Director of Drama and Head of the Creative Arts Faculty, Wells Cathedral School
Rob Kift, Director of Sport, Hurst College
Andrew Russell, Headmaster, St David’s College Jeremy Walker, Head Master, St Peter’s School, York Dr Julian Davies, Principal, Abbey College, Cambridge Caroline Nixon, International and Membership Director, Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) and Director, British Association of Independent Schools with International Students, and Ammy Davies-Potter, Director of Guardianship and Inclusion, BSA
Photo with kind permission of Sherborne Girls School, Sherborne Boys School and Sherborne Prep School
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / 03
Special educational needs and disabilities Educational provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities
Special educational needs provision in boarding schools
What is CReSTeD and how does it help boarding families?
The advantages of starting boarding in a prep school
The popularity of prep school boarding
The benefits of prep school boarding
Music – an important part of the boarding experience
Outdoor learning – ‘rewilding’ pupils
Provision in the independent sector for pupils 136 with special educational needs and disabilities
Using robotics, 3D printing and computing in a prep school
How boarding schools support children’s mental and emotional development
Charlie Hammel, Deputy Head Academic, St Swithun’s School, Winchester
David Smellie, Partner, Farrer & Co
Christopher King, Chief Executive, Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) Dr Trevor Richards, Head, All Hallows Preparatory School Robert Lankester, Headmaster, Maidwell Hall
Sally Moore, Head of Learning Support, Fulneck School
Gareth Jones, Headmaster, Bilton Grange
Will Frost, Head of Geography and Outdoor Learning, Salisbury Cathedral School
Brendan Wignall, Headmaster, Ellesmere College and Chair, CReSTeD
GCSEs and IGCSEs in a changed curricular landscape
Fred de Falbe, Headmaster, Beeston Hall
Sixth form – future ready, set, go!
Responsibility versus maturity – when to 114 introduce more freedom to prep school boarders
Sixth-form programmes – the choice
Olly Langton, Headmaster, Belhaven Hill School
Rhiannon Wilkinson, Head, Ashville College
Paddy Moss, Headmaster, Dean Close Preparatory School
Preparing pupils for the transition to senior schools
Simone Mitchell, Deputy Head, Director of Teaching and Learning, Swanbourne House School
Being a new prep school boarder
Jon Timmins, Acting Head, Wymondham College Prep School and Head of Underwood Hall
What does a bespoke education actually mean? 120 Jo Cameron, Principal, Queenswood School
Girls and STEAM subjects
Boarding as preparation for twenty-first century life
Lisa Kerr, Principal, Gordonstoun
What do we mean by a boarder’s progress and 128 how do schools measure it? Chris Hillman, Deputy Head Academic, Godolphin School
School fee planning
BSA member schools
Andrew Ashton, Bursar, Radley College
Olivera Raraty, Headmistress, Malvern St James Girls’ School
Dear parent, Hello and welcome to the ‘BSA Guide to Boarding Schools’. As a former boarder myself, I can tell you that boarding today is a very different world to the one I remember. It’s certainly nothing like the stereotypical images of boarding which wouldn’t be out of place on the pages of a Harry Potter novel, that may still be conjured up for some when the name ‘boarding school’ is uttered! In fact, the reality couldn’t be more
So there’s no shortage of options, and this
different. Modern boarding offers parents
Guide aims to give you a comprehensive
and pupils a broad range of options,
overview of the choices that are open
providing tremendous flexibility to suit
to you and your child when it comes to
almost any young person and fit in with
selecting a school. We also hope it will
all types of busy lifestyle.
help you to identify what you need to look for when visiting a school, and the right
The BSA Guide to Boarding Schools is a trade mark owned by BSA Group. Published by: BSA Group
questions to ask speaking to staff.
popular choice. It’s widely recognised as
There’s also advice on the help that’s out
a great way to develop independence,
there in terms of selecting the right school
strong inter-personal skills, a sense of
in the form of education agents, and
community and teamwork, and form
support for pupils living away from home
long-lasting friendships. But there are
from education guardians. BSA operates
other options too.
certification schemes for both agents and
Full boarding, where students are based at school all day, every day, remains a
guardians to assure parents of quality, Weekly boarding, which sees students
and you can find out more about those
attending school during the week,
schemes in this Guide.
typically going home on a Friday or Saturday and returning on Sunday
Making that definitive choice of the right
evening or Monday morning, also offers
boarding school for your child can be a
excellent structure, support and facilities
lengthy process, but taking all the time
for an extended time. And then there’s
you need to get your decision absolutely
flexi or occasional boarding; an excellent
right is crucial. Boarding will not suit every
way to get a taste of boarding life by
child or family – but for the right child, in
boarding part-time or semi-regularly.
the right school, it can offer an enriching
Students often enjoy this so much they
life experience like no other. We hope this
decide to move to weekly or full boarding.
Guide will give you everything you need to make that choice a lot easier.
And no two boarding schools are the same. Some are based in cities, others in more rural locations. Some are single-sex,
while others are co-educational. Or
should you choose an academic school, or
CEO, BSA and BSA Group
one which focuses specifically on the arts or sport?
Unit 11-12 Manor Farm Basingstoke RG25 2JB +44 (0)207 798 1580 email@example.com www.ukbsa.com Chief Executive: Robin Fletcher Editor: Sheila White Head of Commercial: Neil Rust Some of the articles in this Guide have not been updated since March 2020. Photographs for many articles were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information on COVID-19 and boarding go to www.boarding.org.uk. The information and views in this Guide were correct to the best of the Editor’s and Publisher’s belief at the time of going to press and no responsibility can be accepted for outof-date information, errors or omissions. While every effort has been made, it may not always have been possible to trace all copyright holders. If any omissions are brought to our attention, we will be happy to include appropriate acknowledgements in the next edition of the Guide. The BSA Guide to Boarding Schools is published twice a year by BSA Group, a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 4676107. All rights reserved. No part of this Guide may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without written permission from the Publisher. Front cover photo with kind permission of Sherborne Preparatory School taken by Katharine Davies
STONYHURST ST MARY’S HALL ANNOUNCES THE
MAYFIELD GIRLS TAKE ON MCC
APPOINTMENT OF A NEW HEADMASTER Cricketers of Mayfield Girls’ School were recently The Governors of Stonyhurst are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Headmaster for Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall. Fr Christopher Cann is currently Headmaster of Ratcliffe College Preparatory School in Leicestershire and was previously Headmaster of Leicester Preparatory School and Denstone College Preparatory School. He has a Master of Arts degree in French from the University of St Andrews and in Theology from the University of Oxford. He is married to Honor, who is a GP, and has six children and two grandchildren.
delighted to welcome the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club)
Fr Christopher is a former Anglican priest who was received into the Catholic church in 2011 and is now a priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Fr Christopher joins on September 1, 2022, providing a seamless transition following the stepping down of Ian Murphy at the end of the academic year after eight extremely successful years as Headmaster.
performances from Lizzie (39 not out), Zara (35) and Flo (26),
He said: “I feel very honoured to be appointed as the next Headmaster of Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall. I very much look forward to getting to know all the SMH children, parents and staff and to working closely, under the guidance of the Governing Body, with John Browne, Head of Stonyhurst, to build on the tremendous success the school has enjoyed in recent years.” John Browne, Head of Stonyhurst, said: “I am delighted to welcome Fr Christopher Cann and his wife Honor to St Mary’s Hall and the Stonyhurst family. He brings a wealth of knowledge and a deep experience of education and spirituality to Stonyhurst, as well as a background in all areas of school leadership, including eight years as Headmaster of Ratcliffe College Preparatory School immediately before joining us.” Mr Browne added: “I should like to thank Ian Murphy for his contribution to Stonyhurst. He has played a hugely significant role in leading the St Mary’s Hall community since 2014, and particularly in meeting the challenges of the pandemic in recent times. Ian has fostered a culture that ensures that St Mary’s Hall is a joyful place for young people to flourish.”
for just the second time in their history. The students, ranging in age from 11 to 18, played two T20 fixtures against a women’s representative MCC side, containing two ex-international cricketers. On both occasions the MCC won the toss and elected to bat first. On a warm and sunny day they were able to make the most of the conditions, setting a tough target for Mayfield’s young cricketers to chase down. Despite some great batting Mayfield fell just short in their run chase in both games. Emily Starr, Mayfield’s Head of Cricket, said: “It is a real honour to play the MCC and play our part in championing women’s cricket. The sport is now a firm favourite at Mayfield even though we introduced it as a major sport only five years ago. In that time we have established a comprehensive programme and now have several girls in their respective age group county squads. For the last two years we have been recognised by The Cricketer magazine as one of the country’s top 20 all-girls’ schools for cricket. A big thank you to the MCC for giving our girls this opportunity.”
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / NEWS / 07
BADMINTON SCHOOL PIONEERING SCIENCE OUTREACH PROGRAMME Recent reports in the media suggest that “Girls see
Noor Fatima, Badminton School’s Science Outreach Officer
physics as for white men only” and MPs have been told
(aged 16), said: “Our main work is providing a diverse set of
that girls do not take physics at A level because they
role models for young children, to counteract the perception
think the subject is only for white boys.
that physics and other sciences only appeal to white men. At my school we want the physical sciences to be inclusive;
The Science Outreach at Badminton School is a unique
to show young women’s interest and involvement in them.
programme established to help redress this imbalance in
Through this approach we also enable our community to
three key ways: by providing strong, positive role models of
continue engaging with science even when they choose a
young female scientists engaged in exciting practical work in
different academic path. Everyone can have fun doing physics
the wider community, by encouraging the uptake of STEM
even if they don’t become a physicist because we make
subjects through the opportunity to deliver practical-based
science accessible to all.”
shows, and by providing girls who wish to study science beyond A level with a set of unique experiences they can use
Mr David Williams, Head of Science Outreach at Badminton
to support applications to higher education courses.
School, said: “There is no difference between girls’ and boys’ ability in physics when they come to choose A-level
Pupils get the opportunity to demonstrate and present a
subjects and the key to achieving a more equal balance
range of science experiments in front of audiences varying
in the physical sciences – especially physics – is for young
from primary school-aged children to audiences in their
people of both genders to have strong, positive role models
thousands. The Science Outreach teams get invited to
of young women engaging in exciting practical activities. I am
perform live demonstrations and present to big ticket events
proud that Badminton School is at the forefront of increasing
such as The UK Big Bang, WOMAD and Green Man festivals.
the participation and visibility of young women in physics and I hope that through our work with other schools and
The events are almost always aimed at both girls and boys.
organisations, we can show that science is for everyone to an
The girls need the inspiration of seeing female scientists
doing exciting practical physics and speaking confidently about the subject. Meanwhile a key element of overcoming gender-based stereotypes in science is for boys to see that it is normal for girls to be confidently undertaking practical roles. Science Outreach keep being invited back to large events because it is a unique example of girls engaged in the physical sciences.
GIVE US 2 HOURS TO SHOW YOU THE FUTURE
plan your childʼs future Saturday 12 November Sunday 13 November Battersea Evolution, SW8 4NW
Meet over 250 London schools, boarding schools, specialist schools, schools within commuting distance.
Find out how to: find the right school, prepare for entry tests, start boarding, transfer from a state school, see if you qualify for fee assistance. Register now at SchoolsShow.co.uk
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / NEWS / 09
NEW GIGGLESWICK SCHOOL HEADTEACHER TO BUILD FROM ‘A POSITION OF STRENGTH’ “I was driving up the M6 and my smile was growing
Mr Hart enjoyed a successful career in the Army Air Corp
bigger and bigger.” Sam Hart believes he has made the
and was awarded the NATO Meritorious Service Medal for
best decision of his career and has vowed to increase
outstanding leadership on an Operation in Afghanistan.
the reputation of the leading northern independent
However, he wants his work in education to take precedence.
school. “I do come from a military background. When my father left Mr Hart has worked in education for 14 years and joined
the Royal Air Force, he went to work at Tonbridge School
from Winchester College in Hampshire where he held roles
and it inspired me to look at education seriously. I quickly
as a teacher of physics, Housemaster, Director of Sport and
realised it was a very worthwhile career. Many of my skills
Contingent Commander of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF).
complemented it, and with a good degree behind me, it felt like a very good fit.
He has wasted no time in getting to know the strengths of the school, staff and students, and said: “It’s clear I have a
“I feel what I’ve done and what I’m doing now in education is
superb team around me and I already have no doubts that
important and what I want to be known for. I’ve a full range
this is an excellent place of learning. I am certainly starting
of pastoral, academic and co-curricular experience, and that
from a position of strength. The senior leadership is incredibly
sense of helping a child to become a grounded, all-round
capable and supportive, there are strong relationships
person, building their confidence and developing their
between the pupils and staff which is reflected in the
individual abilities is incredibly rewarding.
positive atmosphere, and the academic and extra-curricular opportunities are excellent. But I don’t think it’s enough to just
“It fits really well with Giggleswick’s ethos of participation,
keep that going. I want to build on those strengths and I am
ambition and respect. We recognise that every child is
confident I can take the school forward even further. I want
different, and we want to give them the opportunity to
everyone to know where Giggleswick is, the wonderful school
develop their strengths, find out about themselves and strive
we’ve created here and our reputation for excellence.”
for excellence. Academic achievement is an absolute priority, but equally important is our curriculum for life and preparing
Through his experiences at Winchester, Mr Hart believes the
them for when they go out into the world, be it to university
pastoral care offered to children is one of the most important
or the workplace.”
factors in running a school, particularly for boarders, and this was something that attracted him to Giggleswick. “As a housemaster, I was responsible for the pastoral care of 63 boys, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Keeping them safe, happy and feeling they belonged and were part of something was key. It was like a family, and I learned a lot about the importance of the all-round care of a child.”
WELLS CATHEDRAL SCHOOL APPOINTS NEW DIRECTOR OF MUSIC
LEYS DEBATE TEAM WINS REGIONAL COMPETITION A team of sixth-form pupils from The Leys School,
Mr Alex Laing has started his role as the new Director
Cambridge was named regional winner of this year’s
of Music at Wells Cathedral School. Alex was previously
‘Youth Speaks’, the Rotary Club Youth Public Speaking
Artistic Director (Music) at King’s High School, Warwick
competition. The competition has been run by the
and Warwick Preparatory School. He is also well
Rotary Club since 1988 and provides the opportunity
known as a conductor and coach for national level
for teams to build their confidence and ambition.
ensembles including the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain and the Benedetti Foundation. Alex
The winning team comprised of Ellie M, Sienna H and Georgia
was previously Head of Strings at Uppingham School,
D. The girls were required to deliver a 15-minute presentation
and has been a violin teacher, coach and conductor at
on why the institution of marriage is outdated, competing
the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music.
against strong teams from St Albans Girls’ School and
He studied Music at Cambridge University (where
Stamford High School. The girls’ victory follows their success
he held a prestigious instrumental award as well as
in the district finals against teams from St Joseph’s College,
being a choral scholar) and the Royal Birmingham
Ipswich and The Perse.
Conservatoire. Miss Garrett, Head of English at The Leys, commented: “We Alex Laing says: “I am delighted and privileged to be joining
are so proud of the team, who retained the same winning
this wonderful and unique school where music is at the
formula of eloquence, humour and teamwork as they have
centre of life. The buzz at Wells Cathedral School is palpable
done throughout the competition. They saved their best
and I look forward to supporting, sharing and celebrating
performance for the final and the way they worked with one
music with everyone there from the youngest pupil to the
another in answering questions was a remarkable feat of
most senior instrumentalist and the world class Cathedral
collaboration. The other teams were by far the strongest we
choristers. It is a dream job.”
had faced, and I think we were all aware that getting this far in the competition was a remarkable achievement in itself.
Wells Cathedral School Head Master Alastair Tighe says:
Nevertheless, when The Leys were announced victorious,
“It was heartening for us as a school to see this wonderful
our team and the parents supporting them were absolutely
opportunity to attract such a high calibre field. Alex shone
thrilled. It is a shame that the national finals have been
at every level, not just because of his extensive experience
cancelled, as the next round would have been held at the
and reputation, but also because of the creative, fresh and
NEC in Birmingham, which would have been a wonderful
dynamic outlook he presented. Alex’s vision for our world-
experience for them, but the team will now remain unbeaten
class specialist music provision alongside our chorister and
and should be incredibly proud of their achievements.”
‘music for all’ opportunities was engaging and compelling, and he demonstrated a real passion for, and understanding of, all that we are uniquely placed to offer here at Wells. I very much look forward to working with him as he builds on the work of his predecessors, most recently Mark Stringer, and alongside our team of outstanding music experts in all fields. This is an exciting appointment for the whole school.”
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / NEWS / 11
A SPRINGBOARD TO A LIFE OF PURPOSE
2022 | Open days
Sixth Form Open Evening | 22nd September Prep School Open Day | 8th October College Open Day | 15th October Scholarship sittings start in November 2022 A leading Catholic co-educational boarding and day school for pupils aged 3-18 years, set in 1000 acres of beautiful countryside. Only two hours from London & one hour from regional international airports.
that they can be.
DISCOVER MORE AT WWW.STONYHURST.AC.UK
“ONE WORD: EXCEPTIONAL” TATLER
WISH YOU WERE HERE
“MOST FORWARD THINKING SCHOOL” THE WEEK
United Kingdom School of the Decade THE SUNDAY TIMES
JOIN US AT AN OPEN MORNING BOOK YOUR PLACE | BRIGHTONCOLLEGE.ORG.UK BC BSA Guide Ad 185x125 - BCO 6580.indd 1
Post-GCSE courses for Dauntsey’s pupils Pupils from Dauntsey’s, who have now completed their GCSEs, are being kept busy with a range of non-curriculum courses thanks to the school’s extensive post-GCSE activity programme. The range of courses this year includes: Lifeguarding, Emergency First Aid and Rescue, Cookery, Sewing, a Jurassic Adventure, the Dauntsey’s Leadership Academy and the Jolie Brise Life Skills course. These courses run during the week after the last GCSE examination and are open to all Fifth Formers. Each option is designed to provide pupils with specific life skills; some of these are practical, like CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) or cooking, others will affect many areas of their lives, such as teamwork and leadership. Above all, they are designed to be fun. Mark Lascelles, Head Master, Dauntsey’s, said:
“The pupils have worked incredibly hard in the run up to, and during, the GCSEs. Understandably they don’t want to go straight back into the classroom having completed their exams. “As soon as the exams finished, we offered pupils courses that were both fun and useful. The intention is to give them some practical life skills as well as providing a welcome contrast after the intensity of the exam period.”
Students from Dauntsey’s enjoying post-GCSE activities
AUTUMN 2022 / 13
An Adventurous Education BOARDING & DAY SCHOOL CO-EDUCATIONAL 11-18
OPEN MORNING 8 October 2022 6 May 2023
‘Photo with kind permission of Gordon’s School
What about boarding schools?
Barnaby Lenon Headmaster, Harrow School, 1999–2011 and Chairman, Independent Schools Council (ISC)
Boarding schools continue to be popular
three in ten of all pupils. For junior pupils
helps to keep down the fees paid by parents
in the twenty-first century, offering
this proportion is significantly lower, with
and can be used to fund transformational
exceptional education and extra-
only 2 per cent of pupils boarding.
bursaries at the school. In return, the British
curricular activities with round-theclock pastoral care.
school provides advice and monitors the
International pupils bring a global
franchise school in a way which guarantees
perspective to our schools and enrich the
The 2022 ISC Census shows that 69,937
community. The 2022 ISC Census shows
pupils were registered to board at any point
there are 25,079 non-British pupils at ISC
In 2021, average fee increases were 1.7 per
during the 2021–22 academic year. Overall,
schools whose parents live overseas. Pupils
cent. A total of 179,768 pupils now receive
441 schools, representing 32 per cent of all
from Hong Kong comprise the largest group
help with their fees, representing 35 per cent
ISC schools, have some boarding pupils.
in this category, with 5,845 pupils.
of all pupils. The value of this help totals over
Parents are able to choose between different
The parents of these pupils choose British
types of boarding to suit their child. Although
schools because they are keen for their
full boarding remains most popular overall,
children to master the English language,
the pattern appears to be changing with
they understand the significance of extra-
weekly and flexi boarding becoming more
curricular activities as part of a wide
popular. In 2016, 15.7 per cent of boarders
education, and they know attending a
were weekly or flexi boarders. In 2022, the
British school may be the best way to gain
figure is 22.8 per cent. Many working parents
admission to a British university.
£1.1 billion, an increase of 4.3 per cent on
value the flexibility of these boarding options.
the previous year.
WIDENING ACCESS This reflects the long-term aim of our schools to increase bursary provision and widen access. Over the last 15 years, there has been a consistent trend of schools providing increasing amounts of fee assistance to pupils.
Some boarding and day schools have set There are variations between different age
up franchise schools abroad. While I was
More than 40,000 pupils receive means-
groups. For the sector as a whole, 12 per
headmaster at Harrow, we built schools
tested bursaries, valued at £480 million in
cent of pupils at ISC schools board. At sixth
in Thailand, Beijing and Hong Kong. These
2021. The average bursary is worth £10,840
form this proportion more than doubles to
schools pay a fee to the British school which
per pupil per year.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / CHOOSING AND ASSESSING SCHOOLS / 15
ADVANTAGES OF BOARDING Boarding schools have many advantages: • They are able to offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities to a high proportion of pupils because more time is spent by pupils on the school grounds. They also tend to attract staff who want to be involved in sport, music or drama at a high level.
• Boarding schools take pupils from all
over the country and all over the world. This is a valuable educational experience in itself: the opportunity to know people from many walks of life and from many different cultures.
• And of course, boarders do not have to travel to school, something which can be challenging in some parts of the country.
THINGS TO CONSIDER The boarding environment is positive and fun, but remember:
Choosing to board is a personal decision for parents to make with their child – and with support and advice from their chosen school. Every school is different and details of individual schools can be found on their websites, or through the Independent Schools Council (ISC) website.
WHAT IS THE ISC? The ISC is a membership organisation that brings together seven education associations and works on behalf of more than 1,390 independent fee-charging schools in the United Kingdom, which educate more than 500,000 children every year. The ISC has three main functions, covering policy and public affairs, media and communications, and research and data. The aim of the ISC is to be a service organisation, promoting and protecting the independent education sector.
Boarding houses can be noisy places full of other children.
• Being away from home will be a new
Importantly for our members, the ISC provides a central base in London where all
experience for children and their
types of independent schools (prep schools,
mixed and single-sex, academically selective
• Boarding requires substantial investment.
and non-selective, day and boarding) can
However, overall more than a third of ISC
come together to discuss issues of common
school pupils receive help with their fees.
interest. Parents can find information about all ISC schools at www.isc.co.uk
Outstanding facilities, an all-round education and endless opportunities await you at The Duke of York’s Royal Military School. Our full-boarding school, open to 11–18-year-olds, is placed in the top 2% of schools nationally for GCSE progress. Students benefit from excellent teaching delivered by managers and leaders rated Outstanding by Ofsted (2018).
www.doyrms.com | Admissions@doyrms.com | 01304 245023
Barnaby Lenon won the Cambridge University Prize for Education, taught at Eton for 12 years, was Deputy Head of Highgate School, Headmaster of Trinity School Croydon and Head of Harrow (12 years). For eight years he was the founding chair of the London Academy of Excellence, a state free school in East London. He has been a governor of 22 schools and is a trustee of the 12 independent and state schools in the King Edward’s Birmingham Foundation. For six years he was on the board of Ofqual. He is Professor of Education at the University of Buckingham, Chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and a trustee of the charity Yellow Submarine. He has published two books, Much Promise: successful schools in England and Other People’s Children: what happens to the academically least successful 50%? He is one of the most widely quoted educationalists in the media. In 2019, he was awarded a CBE for services to education.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD
boarding school? What makes a good boarding school? Visiting a school certainly gives you a sense of the atmosphere, grounds and local area and you should try to visit if possible. I always think choosing a school is like buying a new house – you may not immediately know you want it but you usually know if you don’t want it within the first few minutes of walking in!
Barney Durrant Head, St Lawrence College On a visit to a prospective school, look at the way pupils treat each other and the staff – and by this, I mean all staff whether they are the Head or Head Groundsperson. Look at how the staff treat the pupils and the relationships pupils have with each other. Are the classrooms vibrant, energetic and pupil-focused? Are the pupils clearly enjoying stimulating and active lessons? Are the boarding houses warm, friendly and welcoming? Is there an obvious pride in the appearance of the school and the way in which the grounds and buildings are looked after and presented? These are some of the questions I ask myself when walking around a school and they give a good insight into the school’s values and ethos. In any good school, pupils should be able to achieve their academic potential, and it should be a given that
the value-added scores for all boarding pupils are significantly higher than the national average. The smaller class sizes, individualised approach and careful monitoring by tutors and housemasters and housemistresses in the evenings ensure pupils are supported and well taught. However, a good boarding school will do much more than this. It will inspire pupils’ love of learning, develop their creativity of thought and give them opportunities to develop independence in their education and more generally in their lives. Good boarding schools see the academic side of the school as not just a discrete stage in an education on the way to university, but as part of the educational journey that continues for the rest of a pupil’s life. A boarding education gives pupils the skills and attributes they need to thrive at university and in the twenty-first century world.
AUTUMN 2022 / 17
Sixth Form Open Evening
Wednesday 28 September - Register now
Senior School Open Morning
Saturday 1 October - Register now
Renowned for our warm and welcoming boarding community, Kingswood offers an exceptional education of depth and breadth. Choosing from a wide range of enrichment opportunities, our students achieve outstanding results, with over 90% receiving offers to their first choice university.
Visit us to find out more.
An Independent Co-educational Boarding & Day School for pupils aged 9 months - 18 years
A co-educational independent school for nine months – 18 years in Bath
LIFELONG LEARNERS A key outcome of a good education is the development of lifelong learners. This means developing a mindset that we can always do better and creating a desire to improve our skills, attributes and approach to solving problems and overcoming obstacles. Genuinely producing lifelong learners is not simply about cramming for exams and teaching to the test. It is about inspiring pupils, enthusing them to work independently and empowering them to question, be self-critical and stand up for what they believe in.
of support when needed. Learning how
A good boarding school ensures pupils feel
to accept defeat – and also learning how
valued and an integral part of their school
to win magnanimously – is taught through
community, with an understanding of their
co-curricular programmes. Team sports
role in the local and global community
develop camaraderie, leadership, teamwork
and a wide perspective on their individual
and communication but a good boarding
responsibility to society. This comes partly
school also has a broad programme of
from the charity and service opportunities in
activities in the evenings and weekends,
the school, but also from living in a diverse
catering for all pupils. This gives pupils
pupil population. Living in a boarding house
Another essential element of a good
opportunities to thrive in all areas, not just
encourages tolerance and an appreciation
boarding school is the excellent pastoral
on the sports field. Expressing yourself
of difference. It allows pupils to develop
care provided by the ‘school family’. As well
creatively is an important part of any holistic
their emotional intelligence and to recognise
as being in smaller class sizes, boarders
education and so opportunities for art,
when others need support or are struggling
receive pastoral support from housemasters
music and drama are in abundance. Not all
– the bonds of friendship developed during
and housemistresses, tutors, the school
pupils want a starring or lead role, so you
boarding can last a lifetime. Soft skills are
chaplain, counsellors and the medical team,
may also look for opportunities offered in,
developed both explicitly and implicitly and
all working together to ensure that every
for example, scriptwriting, filmmaking and
these give boarding pupils a real advantage
individual pupil is known, appreciated,
sound and lighting.
in the future – in their personal and public
supported and developed.
Children must be given opportunities to stretch themselves, be independent and fail – the last being a really important element of education. In a good boarding school, pupils can do this in a safe and nurturing environment that can provide a high level
Barney Durrant became Head of St Lawrence College in 2020, arriving from the new Harrow Hong Kong school, where he established the pastoral structures and systems as Principal Deputy Head. Before that he was a Housemaster and Head of Geography at Stowe School. Both he and his wife started boarding at the age of seven – as his parents worked in Development and his wife’s father was in the Gurkhas. Having both travelled a lot when younger, they appreciated, and fully understand, the importance of stability throughout their educational careers and Barney aims to provide that at St Lawrence College (where all three of his children attend).
AUTUMN 2022 / 19
Don’t just imagine a future at Freemen’s, experience it. Enjoy our 360 virtual tour at www.freemens.org/freemens360tour To find out more about boarding places for pupils aged 13-18, email firstname.lastname@example.org In the 2022 The Sunday Times Parent Power league table, Freemen’s ranks 14th in the UK amongst co-educational independent schools for results at GCSE. Known for academic excellence, Freemen’s is a day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 7-18. Set in 57 acres of beautiful Surrey countryside, we are just 30 minutes from London and only 40 minutes from both Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
CALL US ON + 44 (0)1372 822423
Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) All English accredited independent
Assuming the school meets the minimum
of the boarding experience for the more
boarding schools are inspected twice
standards and no immediate action
than 75,000 boarders in independent and
during a six-year cycle. If the boarding
is required, or unless the Department
state boarding schools.
school is in membership of one of the
for Education (DfE) has commissioned
five independent school associations
an additional inspection, the next ISI
These improvements have been recognised
(GSA, HMC, IAPS, ISA, Society of Heads)
inspection experience for a boarding
by the Government, so much so that the
and thus accredited by its association,
school in the cycle will be a Focused
DfE consulted with boarding schools and
the inspection of boarding is carried
Compliance Inspection (FCI) and an Inspection
boarders on the various updates to the
out by a specialist team of boarding
of Education Quality (EQI). The FCI will
standards which have taken place since
inspectors from the Independent
inspect the boarding provision against
Schools Inspectorate (ISI). If it is
the NMS. Immediately following the FCI,
an independent school, but not a
the EQI will evaluate the quality of the
member of one of those associations
outcomes for pupils. This will evaluate
or is a state boarding school, the
pupils’ achievement and pupils’ personal
inspection of boarding is carried out
development. Educational quality findings
by a specialist team of Ofsted boarding
will be reported against a four-point scale.
inspectors. A small number of ISI-
For boarding provision, the inspection and
inspected schools are classified as
the report will include the contribution of
special schools, which have an annual
boarding to boarders’ achievement and
social care inspection.
their personal development. Full details of this inspection framework can be found
All accredited independent boarding
on the ISI website. ISI will be introducing a
schools are inspected under the ISI
new inspection framework in September
Inspection Framework which came into force
2023. This will be published in spring
in January 2017. Once each cycle, schools
2023 following a consultation process and
will routinely be subject to a Regulatory
piloting in volunteer schools.
NATIONAL BOARDING STANDARDS The 23 National Boarding Standards cover: • Policies, procedures and practice: includes anti-bullying, boarders’ activity programme, boarders’ induction, complaints, confidential counselling and guidance, contact with parents, equal opportunities, guardianship, health and safety, management and leadership, medical care, promoting positive behaviour, role of prefects, boarders’ meals.
People: includes boarding staff supervision, boarders’ privacy,
Compliance Inspection (RCI) which, in terms
recruitment checks on boarding staff,
of boarding, will inspect the boarding
Readers should note that, depending on
relationships between boarders and
provision against Boarding Schools: National
the dates of previous inspections, a FCI-
between boarders and staff, seeking
Minimum Standards (NMS). A new version
EQI inspection might come before a RCI
boarders’ views, leadership and
of the standards has been published
inspection. Schools should prepare for
management of the boarding provision,
and came into force on September
both types. Over the last 20 years, good
the role of educational guardians.
5, 2022: https://assets.publishing.
practice in boarding schools has developed
significantly and schools have responded
positively to national legislation. The effect
accommodation, medical facilities,
of this has been to raise the level of care
recreational facilities, toilet and
and management in boarding schools. This,
in turn, has supported the improved quality
Premises: includes boarding
Photos with kind permission of St John’s College, Southsea
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / CHOOSING AND ASSESSING SCHOOLS / 21
ISI reports on boarding are sent to all parents of current boarders.
or company. The regulations place the same requirements on
These must also be published on the school’s website. They are
proprietors as they do on governors.
certainly published on the inspectorate’s website (listed at the end of this article). An ISI RCI or FCI report states whether the standards are met or not. An ISI EQI report grades the pupil outcomes using one of four descriptors.
THE ROLE OF GOVERNORS The Government, through the inspectorates, is putting an increasing emphasis on the role of governors in monitoring standards in schools. Part A of the new 2022 standards focuses on governance, leadership and management, with the aim that ‘the leadership, management and governance of the school enables a culture to thrive which is child-centred, safeguards children’s wellbeing and is ambitious for the progress of every child. Monitoring and accountability is strong and adds value’.
CHILD PROTECTION The safeguarding of pupils is a major responsibility of schools and is rightly given emphasis by schools in their procedures and by the ISI and Ofsted in their reports on boarding welfare. The school’s safeguarding of its boarders should be high on parents’ and prospective boarders’ list of questions.
On a boarding inspection, the chair of governors and any other governors with responsibilities for boarding, are interviewed about how they monitor the quality of the boarding provision and the policies and the implementation of policies relating to child protection (safeguarding) and the appointment of staff. As the final responsibility for the management of a school rests with the governing body, the Government needs to be certain governors understand their responsibilities in all areas, but, particularly, the safety and welfare of pupils. Many schools now have designated governors who monitor the quality of boarding life. They must have a governor designated to monitor safeguarding. These governors spend time in the boarding houses, meet regularly with the designated senior lead (child protection officer) and monitor the effectiveness of the recruitment checks on new staff and the quality of the single central register of staff appointments. Some independent schools are proprietorial, i.e. they are not a charitable trust, but instead owned by an individual, group
GET BADMINTON OUR COMMUNITY Whole School Open Day Saturday 1 October 2022 Book your place online now email@example.com | badmintonschool.co.uk
There are four key areas in child protection (also known as safeguarding). 1 How can I access the school’s child protection policy? Every school must have a safeguarding (child protection) policy. A review by the full governing body of the school’s child protection policies must take place at least annually, including an update and review of the effectiveness of procedures and their implementation. Schools are also required by the DfE to make this policy freely available to parents and prospective parents on request. If a school has a website, it is required to publish this policy on its website. 2 Who are the school’s child protection officers? The school appoints one or more ‘designated
Photography from St John’s College, Southsea
safeguarding leads’ (DSLs) to be child protection officers. Usually there is a lead
staff is expected to know and understand
DSL and one or more deputies. These DSLs
the key messages from Keeping Children Safe
are required to have training every two
in Education (Part One) and how they apply
For the Boarding Schools: National
years in child protection and inter-agency
to their day-to-day practice. This includes
Minimum Standards go to https://
working. The DSLs in a school take the
knowing the school’s child protection policy
lead responsibility for all child protection
and also knowing the names and contact
issues and liaise with the Local Safeguarding
details (day and night) of the DSLs.
Children Board (LSCB), the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for safeguarding
4 What is in the school’s policy
and the local Children’s Services Team. The
concerning reporting child protection
names of the bodies carrying out these roles
allegations to a local safeguarding
may vary according to local arrangements
For the ISI Inspection Framework go
for Safeguarding Partners. The school’s child
It is a requirement that, in any school child
protection/safeguarding policy should explain
protection policy, it is stated that a school
must communicate immediately with a
For Safeguarding Children and Safer
local safeguarding agency whenever an
Recruitment in Education there are
3 What training do the staff in a school
allegation or disclosure of abuse has been
two government documents:
receive in child protection?
made. It is also a requirement to report to
Keeping Children Safe in Education
The first thing to emphasise is that it is the
the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
responsibility of a school to train all its staff. If
within one month of leaving the school any
a pupil needs to share a confidential matter
person (whether employed, contracted, a
with an adult, he or she does not necessarily
volunteer or student) whose services are no
approach a tutor or a teacher. All staff must
longer used because he or she is considered
Working Together to Safeguard
receive child protection training as part of
unsuitable to work with children.
Children (WTTSC) (2018) https://www.gov.uk/government/
the induction procedures before they start working in the school. This training must be updated regularly, and the expectation is that this is at least annually. Schools consult with their local safeguarding partners to determine the most appropriate schedule, level and focus for training.
BE REASSURED Although abuse incidents are relatively rare, schools should have robust policies and procedures for preventing abuse and for dealing with any incidents which are reported to them.
publications/working-togetherto-safeguard-children--2 For ISI reports go to www.isi.net Reports on boarding welfare will only be found on the ISI website for schools whose boarding
This training covers the categories of abuse
provision has been inspected
(physical, sexual, emotional and neglect), how
since September 2011. For reports
to respond to a pupil who discloses abuse to
before that date, please go to the
a member of staff, and what actions to follow
Ofsted website www.gov.uk/
after a disclosure. Each member of
AUTUMN 2022 / 23
The Best of Both Worlds Wells is a vibrant city surrounded by stunning countryside
“Excellent all-round education set in fabulous grounds within the beautiful city of Wells.” - Current parent
To arrange a visit: firstname.lastname@example.org 01749 834441 https://wells.cathedral.school
Ofsted inspection of boarding schools
If a school is not independent, or
Most inspection activity was paused in
not a member of one of the five
2020 as a result of COVID-19, but has now
independent school associations (GSA,
HMC, IAPS, ISA, Society of Heads), it will be inspected by Ofsted.
The evaluation criteria for Ofsted boarding inspections are used to make a
Unless a school requires improvement
judgement of the overall experiences and
or there are immediate concerns, Ofsted
progress of children, taking into account:
inspects boarding once in a three-year cycle under the Social Care Common Inspection Framework (SCCIF): boarding schools and residential special schools.
Dale Wilkins Senior Director, BSA Group
how well children are helped and protected the effectiveness of leaders and managers.
This framework came into use on 1 April 2017, with minor updates most recently in
Details can be found in the framework
1 September 2019 and can be found at:
Inspections of boarding and education
Reports do not comment in any detail on
are fundamentally separate processes.
the Boarding Schools: National Minimum
However, if the scheduled boarding and
Standards (NMS) but will state clearly any
As well as giving a judgement on overall
education inspections of a school fall
which are deemed not to have been met.
effectiveness, inspectors will report on:
within the same year, Ofsted will try to
Schools, and indeed Ofsted, consider
ensure the two inspections are aligned.
the NMS to be a minimum requirement
which schools should aim to exceed More information can be found at:
• • • • •
quality of education behaviour and attitudes personal development leadership and management.
The education provision at the school
The Ofsted report grades both education
will be inspected in the same way as it is
and boarding in four categories:
at any day school which Ofsted inspects,
other than where it has been possible
to align or integrate the inspections as
above. A new framework for inspecting
education provision was launched on
• • • •
Outstanding Good Requires improvement Inadequate.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / CHOOSING AND ASSESSING SCHOOLS / 25
Prospective parents and boarders who are
considering a state boarding school or an
independent school inspected by Ofsted
should read the school’s most recent
reports, available at: https://reports.
SCHOOL INSPECTIONS OUTSIDE
Scotland and Wales have well-established school inspection systems. Details
Education and boarding reports are usually
are available on the BSA website at
listed under separate registration numbers.
www.boarding.org.uk Both independent
To focus on the boarding element, click on
and state schools in Wales have their
‘Children’s Social Care’ and then check the
education provision inspected by Estyn,
box entitled ‘Residential and boarding’. The
the education and training inspectorate.
education report can normally be found
Boarding schools in Wales have
simply by searching under the name of the
additional residential inspections from
Care Inspectorate Wales, who use the National Minimum Standards for Boarding
There are two government documents
Schools (Wales) as a baseline. In Scotland,
which relate to safeguarding and safer
Education Scotland inspects all education
provision. The Care Inspectorate inspects boarding, using both the Health and Social
Keeping Children Safe in Education (2022)
Care Standards and their own ‘Quality
Framework’. There are also boarding
standards in the Isle of Man, and boarding
schools in Northern Ireland receive
visits from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA). BSA has
Working Together to Safeguard Children
its own set of voluntary accreditation
(2018) (WTTSC) (with minor updates in
standards for schools outside the UK to
Dale Wilkins became a boarding tutor at Norwich School in 1987, shortly after taking up a post there as a language teacher. From 1990 to 1992, he and his wife ran a junior girls’ boarding house at Tettenhall College, before moving to Old Swinford Hospital, a state boarding school where Dale was Housemaster of both senior and junior boys’ houses, Director of Boarding, Deputy Head and Designated Safeguarding Lead. From 1998 he was also involved with BSA as a course tutor and in 2002 he was among the first group of boarding inspectors trained to inspect against the then new NMS. Since 2017 he has worked full-time for BSA, originally as Head of Safeguarding and Standards and now, as Senior Director. Dale lives in Stourbridge in the West Midlands, close to his former school. Dale is also a Deputy District Commissioner for the Scout Association, Chair of Youth Services for the Rotary Club of Stourbridge, and Chair of the Friends of Dudley Performing Arts, the music, art and drama service for schools in Dudley Borough. He enjoys travel (when COVID-19 allows!) and is a former sports coach and referee, who still plays cricket occasionally.
Visit Shrewsbury The Independent School of the Year 2020 Boarding and Day School for Girls and Boys aged 13-18
email@example.com | shrewsbury.org.uk 01743 280 552
Start your journey now at:
Independent School of the Year 2020
Boarding School of the Year
Shrewsbury School - 125mm high x 185mm wide (BSA Service Parents Magazines).indd 1
Community Outreach Award 2020
Weekly boarding: great fun and no school run Boarding during the week at a school
and an indoor pool and sports centre.
in the countryside is an opportunity
There’s a dedicated music school too,
for girls and boys to develop important
with a professional auditorium and plenty
life skills and can really take the
of practice rooms, plus a historic theatre
pressure off busy city families, leaving
and a brand new state of the art academic
theweekends free for quality time
together. Felsted school buses collect weekly ‘I speak to a lot of parents who are keen
boarders from across the region on Sunday
to take the stress out of family life but
night and drop them off on Saturday
don’t want their children to miss out
afternoon in term-time. In between, their
on all the activities they enjoy – sports
home away from home is one of Felsted’s
clubs, music lessons, drama groups, for
eight boarding houses, each one furnished
example, and being with their friends,’ says
with comfortable sofas, beanbags and
George Masters, Deputy Head at Felsted, a
cushions with televisions and games
boarding and day school for girls and boys
consoles, pool or table tennis tables and
aged four to 18 in north Essex. ‘Weekly
other fun equipment.
boarding can be the answer. The time usually spent on the school commute can
‘It’s important that the boarding houses are
instead be invested into schoolwork, as well
relaxing places to be – boarders’ wellbeing
as enjoying their interests in the company
is the top priority and every house has full-
of other students from around the world
time houseparents as well as a fully-staffed
in a very safe and beautifully spacious
medical facility and wellbeing centre’ says
environment.’ Felsted’s 90-acre rural
campus is set in idyllic countryside just 40 miles from London, with rugby, cricket and
To find out more about boarding at Felsted,
hockey pitches, tennis and netball courts,
please visit www.felsted.org
Boarding from a Houseparent Boarding schools have come a long way since the tales of cold showers, uncaring staff and dormitories lined with homesick children. Now the emphasis is on patience and guidance as students navigate social interactions and meeting the high expectations of a new school while being away from home for the first time and living with 30 other peers. Indeed students today often describe their boarding school as a ‘home from home’ or ‘one big sleepover’ where not only can they flourish academically but also learn tolerance, resilience, discipline and independence, while
with in-person meetings or Zoom calls
In the early stages the children are kept
with parents to try and glean as much
busy with many activities. If they’re playing
information about their child so they
rounders then they won’t be feeling
can be helped to settle in as quickly as
homesick! However, it is always going to
crop up, usually at bedtime. Then they come downstairs and are on the sofa with hot
making life-long friends.
Parents meanwhile, can help prepare their
chocolate and talking it through. They also
children by increasing their independence
support each other in their bunk beds early
Evenings and weekends are packed with
and encouraging practical tasks and chores
on – that is how they develop those lasting
such as making their own bed.
activities, and as well as large grounds and facilities, children can enjoy the company
The boarding house is run as an extension
of Sam and Daisy Cooper’s home – the
older sibling figures.
kitchen door is always open and their
children and dog running around.
At Gordon’s, the boarding journey begins
Saturday morning pancakes in their
Sam Cooper is also
kitchen is a weekly treat! Students feel
Head of Boarding at
comfortable, safe and secure – it’s their
Gordon’s School, Tes
term time home and their aim is to make
Boarding School of
them feel that way.
the Year 2022.
of hundreds of others every day and weekend, with senior students becoming
in Year 7 in the bespoke junior family-run boarding house. Woolwich Houseparents Sam and Daisy Cooper get to know their new charges months before their arrival
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / CHOOSING AND ASSESSING SCHOOLS / 27
Boarding at Felsted Leading all-round education with pupil wellbeing at its heart. Give your child the space to thrive with our variety of modern boarding options. Based on a safe rural campus just one hour from London.
Book your visit and find out more at felsted.org/opendays Developing character, making a difference. Co-educational, ages 4-18, boarding & day. #FelstedFamily
GORDON’S SCHOOL BOARDING IN SURREY
Years 7, 9 and 12 boarding places available. ‘Students who attend the boarding school provision exceed their predicted outcomes and consistently reach, and further, their potential’ OFSTED BOARDING INSPECTION REPORT 2019
BESPOKE RESIDENTIAL BOARDING HOUSE FOR YEAR 7 STUDENTS
CLOSE TO LONDON AND ITS AIRPORTS BY ROAD AND RAIL
For Open Events please visit our website www.gordons.school
The importance of good governance
Graham Able Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus
Many parents do not research closely the composition of the governing board when they are considering a school for their child. Yet the role of governors is critical to the success of a school. In most independent schools, the
are common to most schools – they allow
talent but there should also be some
governing board appoints the Head and
governors with particular expertise to
‘outside’ influence on the board to ensure
will have a major input to the appointment
look and advise in more detail in specialist
it does not become too inward-looking.
of the Bursar or equivalent. These
areas. If the governing body is functioning
appointments are key to the school’s
well, the work of these committees will
The best boards will have defined terms
performance, both academically and in
make full board meetings more focused
which governors may serve and will
terms of financial viability. Prospective
take care in succession planning. Most boards are probably too large and, like
parents should satisfy themselves that the school is likely to deliver a good
The range of expertise needed on a
turkeys at Christmas, are disinclined
education appropriate to their child and
governing body will vary a little according
to vote for their own culling. No school
remain financially viable. Governors are
to the type and age-range of school, but all
needs more than 12 governors and 14
also responsible for agreeing the school
schools will need governors with specialist
is certainly too many. The largest boards
budget, determining the salaries of the
knowledge of finance and business, law,
often contain governors nominated by
Head and Bursar and setting fees; this
property, marketing and education. It is
groups associated with the school. These
latter function is of definite interest to
also important for some governors to
nominees may not cover the range of
most parents! In a boarding context, it is
be in touch with the local community.
desired skills so the board has expanded
particularly important to note governors
Whereas it is relevant for prep and senior
in order to address this. Governors
are also ultimately responsible for
schools to have someone with school
must keep up to date with all regulatory
safeguarding and health and safety.
headship experience on the board, a
changes and ensure safeguarding and
senior school will additionally benefit from
health and safety matters are regularly
The nature of governance has changed
a governor with university connections.
addressed. So it is important for governing
considerably over the last 30 years. The
In many boarding schools, one governor
bodies to ensure they receive sufficient
role of governors was once just to appoint
will have a special responsibility for
training where appropriate.
the Head and give general support. They
liaison with the boarding houses, and it is
are now better described as a board of
helpful if this person has some relevant
Governance is judged as part of the
specialist non-executive directors helping
experience of boarding education.
Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) or Ofsted inspection process. Governing
to run a mid-sized company with the Head as chief executive and the Bursar or Business Manager as finance director.
‘CRITICAL FRIENDS’ Governors need to act as ‘critical friends’ to their ‘chief executive’ and to do so effectively they need to be well-informed and with sufficient experience and knowledge between them to ask the right questions and interrogate the responses thoroughly. To monitor the progress of the school, governors need to take time to observe lessons and activities and to attend school functions outside their termly board and committee meetings. They should be visible but careful not to cross the line between non-executive and executive functions. The number of governors’ committees will vary from school to school. Finance, property/ development and academic committees
PARENTS AS GOVERNORS Opinions vary about parents as governors. I have always favoured having a current parent on the board, but one elected by the board for his or her expertise rather than a ‘representative’ parent governor elected by the PTA. The latter approach looks very democratic but tends to produce governors with a specific agenda – and possibly without any of the desired specialist skills – and this may not be in the best interests of the school as a whole. It is important governing boards do not become self-perpetuating oligarchies. There should be clear criteria for the appointment of a new governor and a desired skill set agreed before the board seeks suitable candidates. The alumni and parent (past and present) body will provide a rich source of appropriate
boards which cannot demonstrate a good knowledge of their schools and a proper contribution to strategic decisions are likely to be downgraded and criticised in the inspection report. Most schools now list their governors with details of their specialisms on the school website, so, when considering a school, it is certainly worth taking the time to check their credentials and assess their suitability to govern. Graham Able has spent 40 years in independent schools, the last 22 as Headmaster of Hampton School and then Master of Dulwich College. After retiring from Dulwich he was appointed Chief Executive of the Alpha Plus Group, stepping down from this role in 2014 since when he has been Group Deputy Chairman. Having previously served on the governing bodies of Roedean and Imperial College, he was a governor of Gresham’s School from 2013 to 2020 and is a governor of Beeston Hall, where he was once a pupil and is now Vice-Chairman. A former chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), he has advised governing boards on their structure and effectiveness.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / CHOOSING AND ASSESSING SCHOOLS / 29
WESTMINSTER SCHOOL WESTMINSTER.ORG.UK
Boarding in the heart of London
16+ ENTRY 2024
To request a prospectus or find out about Open Days, please call 020 7963 1003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about entry to Westminster Under School at 7+, 8+ or 11+ please call 020 7821 5788.
Online registration opens in June 2023. Registration now open for 2026.
Westminster School is a charity (No. 312728) established to provide education.
A flourishing boarding community 100 prep boarders aged 7 -13 and 480 senior boarders REGI
Open Mornings Prep School for ages 7 - 13
Saturday, 24th September
A strong House and tutor system to look after your child’s pastoral and academic wellbeing
Senior School for ages 13 - 18
An outstanding range of extra-curricular activities
Saturday, 8th October
Day and Boarding, 1090 pupils aged 13 - 18 720 pupils aged 2 - 13
Individual visits welcome email@example.com
Boarding from ages 7 to 18
F L A I R
Contact Admissions for more information
D I S C I P L I N E
A C A D E M I C
R I G O U R
Photo with kind permission of Ludgrove School
Dale Wilkins Senior Director, BSA Group
TURNING MINIMUM STANDARDS INTO EXCELLENCE The Boarding Schools’ Association
Our work is centred on the requirements
we are better able to help them benchmark
(BSA) is committed to supporting
of the relevant Boarding Schools: National
their boarding against the expectations
Minimum Standards (NMS), which in
across the wider boarding sector, both in
England have been extensively revised for
the UK and internationally.
everyone involved in boarding – adults and children – offering high
September 2022, this being the first revision
quality guidance and training that
for seven years. Standards in Wales are
At the heart of the BSA Academy offer
benefits schools, their staff and,
likely to be reviewed soon, and in Scotland
are core skills for all those working in
the provisions of the Health and Social Care
boarding, including those new to residential
Standards have a similar focus. BSA has its
settings as well as established practitioners.
own voluntary set of standards for schools
BSA Group offers boarding staff more
elsewhere, with the focus of all these
specialised seminars on a wide range
guidelines being on ensuring there is a high
of specific issues, particularly relating to
quality of care for every child attending a
safeguarding, through both BSA and our
boarding school, whether as a full boarder,
sister organisations, the Safeguarding and
weekly or flexi. However, these are only a
Child Protection Association (Sacpa) and
starting point, with member schools aiming
the Health in Education Association (Hieda).
for excellence across a range of key areas
A number of day conferences are also run
relating to the day-to-day experiences
throughout the year for heads and for other
of boarders. By working together with
boarding practitioners, as well as those
colleagues from a wide range of schools,
looking at specific issues such as mental
perhaps most importantly, the children and young people who board. Our primary objective is to raise professional standards and we have an extensive and diverse continuing professional development (CPD) and training programme through the BSA Academy for all staff working in boarding environments throughout the UK and beyond.
Photo by Bonjour School Photography with kind permission of St Andrew’s Prep
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / CHOOSING AND ASSESSING SCHOOLS / 31
health, immigration and safeguarding. Specific training content is also designed to meet the needs of prep schools, senior schools, state schools, sixth-form boarding and international colleges. Most of this content is now online, and is accessible internationally, although a small number of face-to-face events are being reintroduced. Alongside our day conferences and seminars, we run an accredited training programme, offering certification to boarding practitioners. At its core is the BSA Advanced Certificate Course. Based over two years, this course looks more deeply into Pastoral Care (Part 1) and then Boarding Management (Part 2) or Health & Development (Part 2), including specialised courses for school nurses and school matrons. The courses are led by the BSA team, supported by very experienced
We also run a guidance helpline, receiving
tutors from member schools and specialist
calls and emails on a wide variety of topics
presenters who cover online safety, mental
from member schools, and helping them
health, strategic management and other
deal with compliance issues and move
issues critical to working in boarding. In
towards best practice. A Member Services
the last few months bespoke certificate
team focuses on ensuring that we are
programmes have been introduced to
best placed to support the whole range
focus on mental health and also on equity,
of members, from schools which are
diversity and inclusion.
exclusively boarding to schools with just a few boarders. This is enhanced by our
We also run the BSA Diploma Course
regional Forum meetings in all parts of the
twice a year for current and aspiring
UK and internationally. Every child who goes
boarding leaders, and the very popular
to boarding school deserves the very best
Certificate in International Boarding. There
of care and support, and BSA Group is fully
is also a Masters in Residential Education
committed to ensuring our member schools
in conjunction with the University of
have the best resources to help them to
Buckingham. An expanding INSET and
consultancy programme enables further spread around the UK and into Europe and beyond. We are constantly seeking new areas of interest and responding to the needs of the sector. Our safeguarding portfolio continues to grow, and we deliver bespoke content focused on the boarding environment through webinars and day
SAFEGUARDING AND CHILD PROTECTION ASSOCIATION
Dale Wilkins became a boarding tutor at Norwich School in 1987, shortly after taking up a post there as a language teacher. From 1990 to 1992, he and his wife ran a junior girls’ boarding house at Tettenhall College, before moving to Old Swinford Hospital, a state boarding school where Dale was Housemaster of both senior and junior boys’ houses, Senior Director of Boarding, Deputy Head and Designated Safeguarding Lead. From 1998 he was also involved with BSA as a course tutor and in 2002 he was among the first group of boarding inspectors trained to inspect against the then new NMS. Since 2017 he has worked full-time for BSA, originally as Head of Safeguarding and Standards and now, as Senior Director. Dale lives in Stourbridge in the West Midlands, close to his former school. Dale is also a Deputy District Commissioner for the Scout Association, Chair of Youth Services for the Rotary Club of Stourbridge, and Chair of the Friends of Dudley Performing Arts, the music, art and drama service for schools in Dudley Borough. He enjoys travel (when COVID-19 allows!) and is a former sports coach and referee, who still plays cricket occasionally.
Part of the BSA Group
seminars. In 2022 we are launching a Safeguarding Certificate in conjunction with Sacpa.
BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS WITH INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Part of the BSA Group
Adrian Underwood Education Consultant
School visits: questions and answers School visits can take many forms. They can involve meeting the Head or perhaps attending an open day. Whatever the format, the first meeting is crucial so if possible always try to visit a school on a normal day. If it goes well, follow it up with an open day visit. Further visits can then be
prospective boarders and their families and boarders enjoy talking about their school and their house. Here are some useful
boarders should have the opportunity to stay overnight.
The initial look round is absolutely vital. It is where a parent and their child start to assess whether they fit the environment (and whether it fits them). It is where
prospective parents and boarders decide whether they like the location, the ‘buzz’ and the Head. Open days can involve a
talk about the school, usually by the Head,
and the International Baccalaureate,
the boarding school’s website, prospectus
but smaller ones will find this more
and accompanying information did not cover
difficult and expensive. Schools may
everything you wanted.
also offer the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma (being withdrawn from 2023 with a
The list is not exhaustive: use it as a guide
last resit available in June 2024) or the
and adapt the questions to your own
Advanced Diploma. Most schools will be
requirements – you will have to be selective,
attempting to broaden their sixth-form
given the relatively short time available.
curriculum, introducing more skills-
Covered in this list are:
• • • • • • •
academic issues rules and regulations boarding life and pastoral care financial issues
and current boarders, and then current boarders lead a tour of the school.
All this should be followed by an opportunity to ask any further questions.
As a prospective parent visiting a boarding
school with your child, you should have the
opportunity to spend time with the Head, a boarding housemaster/housemistress and some boarders. Above all, set out to enjoy your visit. You will find the vast majority of boarding schools enjoy welcoming
Q: How has the school addressed the examination reforms? A: GCSEs and A levels have been reformed
the governing board
introducing linear programmes
with examinations at the end of
after your visit.
two years. The standalone one-year
sometimes hands-on classes for prospective boarders while parents chat to senior staff
curriculum? A: Larger schools may offer both A levels
questions to ask, particularly if you found
Q arranged; for example, potential
Q: How do you organise your 14 to 19
ACADEMIC ISSUES Q: What are the entry requirements? Is our child likely to obtain a place, and when? A: This is a crucial initial administrative matter. Remember the majority of places available will be for the main ages of entry: normally at 7, 8 and 11 for a prep school and at 11, 13 and 16 for a senior school. You need to know whether to have alternative schools lined up, and at what age the school recommends entry and has places available.
AS qualification no longer counts towards the full A level. In the National Curriculum, mathematics focuses on problem solving and mental arithmetic and English on producing good quality written communication and comprehension of a range of texts including those from our English literary heritage. Schools should be able to explain how they have approached these reforms.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / CHOOSING AND ASSESSING SCHOOLS / 33
Steyning Grammar School
The missing piece since 1614 Day & Boarding | No Tuition Fees | Full and Weekly Options OPEN DAYS: 8th October & 5th November 2022. 25th February & 13th May 2023. FORCES DISCOUNT AVAILABLE
A Leading Independent Boarding & Day School for Girls Aged 11-18 Contact:
% 01249 857200
State boarding schools provide free tuition with modest fees for boarding. At Steyning, our Ofsted Outstanding boarding, offers a safe and homely environment to develop independence, build life-long friendships and enable every student to be the best they can be. Admissions for our state boarding are open with entry at Year 9 and Sixth Form College.
www.sgs.uk.net | 01903 817601
Q: Can we see your sixth-form examination
Q: What is the school’s policy on careers
its health and safety and disciplinary
results and GCSE/standard grade results
education and applications to further
policies, to look into the medical and
for the past three years? Also, can we
and higher education, and with which
counselling services available, to discover
see details of the school’s position in the
professions does it have particularly
what happens if serious offences are
league tables and the number of places
committed, and to find out on what grounds
obtained at Oxbridge (the Universities
A: Good careers advice is an essential part of
a pupil may be temporarily or permanently
of Oxford and Cambridge) and at other
education. Providing advice is a crucial role
excluded, and when this last happened.
for the school. Careers departments should
You should feel matters would be dealt with
have an established local support network
consistently, sympathetically but firmly, and,
caution, as they do not give a rounded
of contacts in the main professions, who
above all, fairly.
picture of the school’s real success or
are able and willing to pass on the benefits
failure in enabling pupils to reach their full
of their experience. Again, a list of recent
potential. IGCSEs are no longer included in
leavers’ university places will provide a
the UK Government’s school performance
valuable indicator of the school’s strengths
tables and so the tables do not reflect
A: League tables need to be treated with
IGCSE performance. The annual tables, or better still the subject and pupil point score averages over the past three years, can be used to identify trends within a school, and most schools accept that these tables are used for obtaining comparisons. All the information should be available in a form
RULES AND REGULATIONS Q: What are the key rules for boarders in the houses? A: A question for the boarding staff, as this is aimed at finding out as much as possible about the regime of the boarding house.
that is understandable and helpful. These, the Oxbridge results and the list of university
Q: What is the weekend programme for
entrants will give you an indication of pupils’
boarders and what activities are on
attainment and progress, particularly with
reference to those at the top of the ability
BOARDING LIFE AND PASTORAL CARE Q: How can I be confident my child’s interests are protected at all times? A: Schools are subject to rigorous child welfare legislation, regulation and inspection, which is entirely right and proper. The interests of the child are at the heart of a boarding education. All schools are required to have a Safeguarding (Child Protection) Policy and all staff should receive regular training in safeguarding. The school’s latest inspection report should provide further details.
A: A question for the boarding staff, as this is
Q: How does the school work with children who are shunned by their peers? A: The school should be able to identify these
range and will illustrate the school’s success
aimed at finding out as much as possible
children at a very early stage. Schools
at helping pupils realise their academic
about what boarders can do at weekends
should explain the measures they take to
potential. Please note that during the
and the school’s ability to offer wider
deal with this. Schools should provide high
COVID-19 pandemic, schools marked the
cultural and social opportunities for its
quality pastoral care and support to all
public examinations and these results were
boarders. If the school does not have lessons
moderated by the examination boards. This
on Saturday morning and does not have a
means there is no national data for public
co-curricular programme on a Saturday, it
examinations in 2020, 2021 or summer
is important to find out what the boarding
programme is from Friday after school until
Q: How does the school approach
many problems immediately. Knowing
staying in the house over a typical weekend.
who that is and developing confidence in
& and information and communication
technology (ICT) for the most and least able students?
see if there is a problem? A: The right member of staff can deal with
Sunday evening. Also, do ask about numbers the teaching of English, sciences,
mathematics, modern languages,
Q: Who is the first staff member we should
Q: What is the school’s policy on use of the internet and mobile phones?
A: You should feel confident the school has
them is very important. Most boarding schools have very good pastoral care and counselling systems and knowing how these operate is very important. This question will
realistic and sensible policies in place to
also allow parents to find out how well the
monitor internet usage. Similarly, mobile
school communicates with parents, and
be at either end of the ability range. It is
phones can be useful, not least as a means
what opportunities there are for visits to the
important to know how a school responds
of keeping in touch with parents, so long as
school to meet your child’s housemaster/
to individual abilities and needs. It is also
rules on their use and security are in place
housemistress, teachers and other parents.
important to find out how subjects fit into
and put into practice. Also, find out whether
a broad, well-balanced curriculum, and
boarders must hand in their devices when
Q: What are the bathroom facilities like?
how essential study skills, particularly in
they go to bed to ensure good sleep routines.
A: Boarding house bathrooms range from
A: These are key subjects, and your child could
information and communication technology (ICT), are being developed and integrated.
Q: Our child has a particular interest in
sport/music/drama/art. How will the school get the best out of them?
A: This question is aimed at finding out which
Q: What are the school’s policies on
individual ensuite arrangements to communal shower areas with private shower
alcohol, drugs and smoking? Is the
cubicles. You should be satisfied that the
school facing any particular problems in
showers offer personal privacy.
any of these areas at present?
A: Every boarding school will have policies in place to cover these matters. The real
co-curricular activities are offered, and how
question is how these issues are dealt with,
the school encourages participation in them.
and whether the individuals concerned learn
Ask about the activities that interest your
from their mistakes. This is a chance to
child most, or in which your child has a
consider the school’s personal, social, health
and economic education (PSHE) programme,
AUTUMN 2022 / 35
“ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE AND EXCITING SCHOOLS IN BRITAIN” The Good Schools Guide, June 2022
DLD College London is a distinctive and forward-thinking school, creating unique learning opportunities for all of our students. Located on the exciting South Bank, London is our classroom. We offer a diverse curriculum, combining the traditional with the unconventional, including a pioneering new Year 9 curriculum, innovative new GCSE programme, BTECs and Year 9 Opens A Levels. Visit us to find out more about our multi-awardwinning and highly recommended school.
Sept 2023 Activity Morning Sat 8 Oct 2022
NEXT OPEN EVENING THURSDAY 29TH SEPT 2022 REGISTER ONLINE www.dldcollege.co.uk/open-evening-registration https://bit.ly/3cHinso https://www.dldcollege.co.uk/open-evening-registration?utm_source=BSA-Guide-full-pg-ad&utm_medium=magazine-ad-print&utm_campaign=open-evenings-autumn-2022
DLD College London, 199 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7FX
Q: Do boarders have access to communication platforms? A: These platforms provide a very cost-effective method of keeping in touch with your child. You may want to ask how access to platforms is monitored. Q: How good is the catering? Do the boarders have an input into the choice of menu offered? A: These are really questions for the boarder showing you around. The general standard of school catering nowadays, though, is remarkably high and schools are far more conscious of the need to maintain healthy diets. On an overnight taster stay, your child will be able to assess the quality of the food. If there is a Food Committee, you can ask how often it meets and to see some of the minutes/action points. Q: What medical arrangements are in place?
THE GOVERNING BOARD Q: What is the role of the school’s governors? A: School governors have the ultimate responsibility for all aspects of the school. Although they may delegate the day-to-day operations to senior leaders of the school (for example, the Bursar and finance team usually manage financial matters), in law the governors are regarded as having overall accountability for the management of the school. This is why most governing bodies have sub-committees to monitor specific areas of the school. The most common of these committees are education, finance, welfare and health and safety. Governing bodies may also have committees for boarding, governor succession, investments and audit. If a school is a member of an academy, it will have a Local Governing Body (LGB). In this case some of the functions of governance will be carried out centrally by the Trust.
A: Obviously, it is important to know what happens in the case of either illness or an
Governing bodies are also required
emergency or accident. Schools should
to monitor all policies (and their
inform you about the medical staff and the
implementation) in regard to the National
facilities. It is also wise to check on insurance
Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools
arrangements, particularly for sporting fixtures,
(NMS) and, additionally for independent
expeditions and trips, both at home and
schools, the Independent Schools’
Standards Regulations. Governing bodies
AFTER YOUR VISIT After your visit, try to discuss with your child your thoughts about the people you met, what you were told and what you saw. Then ask yourself a number of follow-up questions: • What views did you form of the Head? Why? • What sort of leadership was provided? • How did the aims and objectives of the boarding school appear in practice? • Was there a good rapport between pupils and staff and boarders and the boarding house staff? • How was the eye-to-eye contact? • Were the boarders well-mannered and enthusiastic about their house/school? • Did the school have policies, procedures and rules to make it a civilised and caring community? • Were the staff communicative and did they enjoy their teaching? Did they have control of their classes? What contribution did they make to the life of the school outside the classroom? • Were the buildings and the grounds wellmaintained? • Was there a generally positive atmosphere about the community? • Finally, and crucially, will the school meet your child’s needs and will your child be happy there?
increasingly delegate governors to monitor
THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION
specific areas of the school. It is common
Over the years I have advised many friends and
to have a Safeguarding (Child Protection)
acquaintances on choosing a boarding school.
Governor, a Staff Appointments Governor, a
The key message is to listen to your child’s
school life. While not every pupil may be
Boarding Governor and a Health and Safety
views. Despite what the media still write, very
expected to participate fully, a great deal
few children are ‘sent to boarding school’. It is a
Q: How important is the role of chapel in school life? A: The chapel may be central to the boarding
can be achieved through chapel, most
child’s choice to be a boarder and they should
notably its important role in SMSC (spiritual,
Governors give their time and specialist
have a big input into the choice of school. By
moral, social and cultural) education and,
expertise voluntarily and a good rapport
all means ensure that the chosen school could
particularly, in helping to develop pupils’
between governors and the Head and
support your child in developing their particular
life skills and a sense of care, concern and
the senior management team is essential
skills. Just because your great friends have
respect for others in the whole community.
for a well-run school. When inspecting
agreed on a boarding school for their child,
governance, inspectors will expect governors
that does not mean it is necessarily right for
to know the school well and have strategies
your child. The greatest mistake I have seen in
for understanding the school beyond
terms of the choice of boarding school is when a
reading reports from senior leaders.
parent is fixated on a particular school and does
A FINANCIAL ISSUES Q: What extras can we expect to pay? A: Extras vary according to a child’s co-curricular involvement. The Head and school prospectus should make it clear at the outset what additional expenses can be expected. There is normally no reduction in fees for periods of study leave, but there is no compulsion for a boarder to be at home for study leave.
Q: How do you finance capital expenditure and what are your development plans?
A: Schools need to keep pace with national developments in education, so capital
projects will always be on the agenda. Some of these may be funded by donations or an appeal. Others may come out of fees. The Head should be open about future plans and financing options.
COVID-19 Boarding schools have worked extremely hard to protect boarders in their schools. Parents can access the latest COVID-19 information issued by the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) at www.boarding.org.uk
not consider their child’s needs. Adrian Underwood’s career has been in boarding education for over 50 years since 1971 when he was appointed a housemaster and head of department. From 1975 to 1997 he was headmaster of a boarding and day school. In 1998 Adrian became National Director of the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA). He watched over the Association’s development into the world’s foremost boarding association, pioneering a professional development programme for boarding staff. He was appointed OBE in 2007 for services to education. For 15 years he was a lead inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate and the Education Development Trust. He now lives on the North Norfolk coast and is a governor of Wymondham College and a trustee of the Sapientia Education Trust.
Mayfield A N IN DEPEN DENT DAY AND B OAR DI NG SCH OOL FO R G I R L S AGED 1 1 TO 1 8
OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC RESULTS • SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE EXTENSIVE CO-CURRICULAR PROGRAMME EXEMPLARY PASTORAL CARE & NURTURING ENVIRONMENT STATE OF THE ART EQUESTRIAN CENTRE SET IN THE BEAUTIFUL SUSSEX COUNTRYSIDE JUST AN HOUR FROM LONDON EASY ACCESS TO GATWICK AND HEATHROW AIRPORTS FLEXI, WEEKLY AND FULL BOARDING OPTIONS
Open Mornings SATURDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER 2022 TUESDAY 18 TH OCTOBER 2022 TO ARRANGE A VISIT PLEASE CONTACT MRS SHIRLEY COPPARD, REGISTRAR@MAYFIELDGIRLS.ORG
AUTUMN 2022 / 37
in our schools Graham Able Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus
Faith schools have often been – and
Many faith schools are very popular with
and a strong tradition for attracting Jewish
continue to be – controversial. People
parents from other persuasions. The
students. Many pupils transferred to Clifton
opposing faith schools express concerns
strong moral principles on which most
when Carmel College, a Jewish foundation,
about the possible indoctrination of
faith schools are based inculcate the good
closed in 1997 following the demise of the
developing minds whereas supporters
behavioural outcomes and disciplined
Government Assisted Places scheme on
point to the strong moral compass they
approach to learning which coincide with
which it was heavily reliant. Several boarding
provide in a world which provides so
the expectations of most parents. Those
faith schools based on the Islamic tradition
many temptations and distractions for
maintained primary schools with Catholic or
have been developed over the last 20 years
Anglican Church governance are the most
and this provision is likely to expand.
popular among parents of different faiths –
It is important to distinguish between
sometimes to the extent of real or apparent
The independent sector is very much about
majority faith schools where the curricular
sudden parental conversions in order to
parental choice. Faith schools widen that
offering is very much mainstream and the
improve the child’s chances of a place! The
choice and can cater for parents who want
very small minority of establishments where
balance between strong principles and
their children’s education to reflect their own
the curriculum is substantially reduced or
indoctrination is important, however, and is
faiths as well as parents who feel that a faith
distorted for doctrinal reasons. Our focus in
an area where most good faith schools show
school will help to provide a stronger moral
this Guide is very much on the former and
respect for and tolerance of the views of
compass. The variety of faiths represented
these include many well-regarded and well-
families from a variety of faith backgrounds.
and the differential contributions which
faith makes in the modern lives of each
The range of faith schools in the boarding
school allows most parents to find a school
There is a wide range of schools with
sector is extensive and reflects the role of
well-suited to their child and the family as a
affiliations to faiths. Some of our oldest
various faiths in the founding of schools
established boarding schools were originally
across many years. Within the Christian faith,
founded as Christian institutions but not
there are Catholic schools such as Prior Park
all have retained such a strong religious
and Stoneyhurst, Anglican schools of varying
tradition. Dulwich College is a good example
churchmanship such as the Woodard group
– it remains a Christian foundation with an
(high church Victorian foundations including
Anglican Chaplain and an honorary Catholic
Lancing and Worksop) and those of a more
Chaplain but with no chapel on its campus
Protestant tradition such as Rugby. There
since it moved location in 1874 and no
is a strong Methodist group (including Kent
requirement on any of its pupils to attend
College and Ashville College) and several
any overtly religious gathering. It caters for
well-established Quaker foundations such
the needs of a multi-faith student body with
as Leighton Park. Caterham School was
visiting Imams and Rabbis and provides
originally established to educate the sons
for meetings of Hindus and Sikhs. Other
of Congregationalist ministers although it is
schools such as Christ’s Hospital (Anglican)
now a mainstream co-educational boarding
and Prior Park (Catholic) maintain strong
allegiance to their founding traditions, although they are very much open to those
Clifton College, a Christian foundation, had a
of other – or no – faiths.
Jewish boarding house for many years
Graham Able has spent 40 years in independent schools, the last 22 as Headmaster of Hampton School and then Master of Dulwich College. After retiring from Dulwich he was appointed Chief Executive of the Alpha Plus Group, stepping down from this role in 2014 since when he has been Group Deputy Chairman. Having previously served on the governing bodies of Roedean and Imperial College, he was a governor of Gresham’s School from 2013 to 2020 and is a governor of Beeston Hall, where he was once a pupil and is now Vice-Chairman. A former chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), he has advised governing boards on their structure and effectiveness.
AUTUMN 2022 / 39
Developing remarkable people Girls ❘ Boys ❘ Sixth
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / CHOOSING AND ASSESSING SCHOOLS / 41
Specialist schools – arts, drama, music The specialist schools programme is a UK government initiative that encourages secondary schools in England to specialise in certain areas of the curriculum to boost achievement. The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust is responsible for the programme. Currently there are nearly 3,000 specialist schools, or 88 per cent of the state-funded secondary schools in England. In the independent sector the term ‘specialist’ tends to focus more on developing outstanding talents mainly in a range of co-curricular activities such as drama, music and the arts. The principal independent boarding schools in music, dance and drama are covered below.
MUSIC AND DANCE The Music and Dance Scheme (MDS) is a government-funded scheme to provide support for talented musicians and dancers. You can find out more at www.gov.uk/music-dance-scheme There are eight MDS specialist independent schools throughout the UK, committed to the highest teaching standards in music and dance, alongside an excellent academic education. MDS schools are listed below. MUSIC AND DANCE SCHEME SCHOOLS Music boarding schools Chetham’s School of Music www.chethams.com The Purcell School for Young Musicians www.purcell-school.org Wells Cathedral School www.wells.cathedral.school.org Yehudi Menuhin School www.menuhinschool.co.uk
Dance boarding schools Elmhurst School of Dance www.elmhurstdance.co.uk The Hammond School www.thehammondschool.co.uk The Royal Ballet School www.royalballetschool.co.uk Tring Park School for the Performing Arts www.tringpark.com
CHOIR SCHOOLS The Choir Schools’ Association (CSA) represents 44 schools attached to cathedrals, churches and college chapels around the country. Pupils have unlimited access to first-class schooling and musical training, giving them an excellent start in life. More than 1,200 of the 21,500 boys and girls in choir schools are choristers. Some CSA schools take children from 7 to 13; others are junior schools with senior schools to 18. The majority are Church of England foundations, but the Roman Catholic, Scottish and Welsh churches are all represented. The majority are fee paying, with nine out of ten choristers qualifying for financial help with fees from the school or through the Government’s Choir Schools’ Scholarship Scheme. To find out more, go to www.choirschools.org.uk Choristers at about 20 choir schools are day pupils. These days only a dozen or so require all choristers to board. Others offer the choice if parents can demonstrate they can get their children to and from school in time for choir practice and services. The choir schools offering boarding are listed in the table below. CHOIR SCHOOLS OFFERING BOARDING School
Northern England The Chorister School Durham firstname.lastname@example.org Lincoln Minster Prep School Lincoln email@example.com Chetham’s School Manchester firstname.lastname@example.org Ampleforth College York email@example.com St James’ School Grimsby firstname.lastname@example.org
www.thechoristerschool.com www.lincolnminsterschool.co.uk www.chethams.com www.ampleforth.org.uk www.saintjamesschool.co.uk
Central England Dean Close Preparatory School Cheltenham email@example.com Hereford Cathedral School Hereford firstname.lastname@example.org Lichfield Cathedral School Lichfield email@example.com Christ Church Cathedral School Oxford firstname.lastname@example.org Magdalen College School Oxford email@example.com St George’s School Windsor firstname.lastname@example.org
www.deanclose.org.uk www.herefordcs.org www.cathedralchoir.org.uk www.cccs.org.uk www.mcsoxford.org www.stgwindsor.co.uk
London St Paul’s Cathedral School London email@example.com Westminster Abbey Choir School London firstname.lastname@example.org Westminster Cathedral Choir School London email@example.com
www.spcs.london.uk www.abbeychoirschoool.org www.choirschool.com
Eastern England King’s College School Cambridge firstname.lastname@example.org St John’s College School Cambridge email@example.com King’s Ely Ely firstname.lastname@example.org
www.kcs.cambs.sch.uk www.sjcs.co.uk www.kingsely.org
Southern England St Edmund’s School Canterbury email@example.com The Prebendal School Chichester firstname.lastname@example.org The Cathedral School Exeter email@example.com King’s Rochester Preparatory School Rochester firstname.lastname@example.org Salisbury Cathedral School Salisbury email@example.com Polwhele House School Truro firstname.lastname@example.org Wells Cathedral School Wells email@example.com The Pilgrims’ School Winchester firstname.lastname@example.org
www.stedmunds.org.uk www.prebendalschool.org.uk www.exetercathedralschool.org www.kings-rochester.co.uk www.salisburycathedralschool.com www.polwhelehouse.co.uk www.wells.cathedral.school.org www.thepilgrims-school.co.uk
Wales The Cathedral School Llandaff email@example.com
Schools with a military history Several schools in the UK have a
These schools have a strong Combined
on the school’s website and you will want
military history, for example, Queen
Cadet Force (CCF). Each school will have
to visit the school. Before the visit, you
Victoria School (QVS), The Duke of
different entry points for the CCF and
should draw up a list of questions specific
York’s Royal Military School (DOYRMS),
different lengths of time a boarder is a
to the school.
The Royal Hospital School (RHS),
member of the CCF. You can clarify this
Pangbourne College and Gordon’s
on your visit to the school. Because the
Schools with a military history have strong
School. All these schools maintain
military has such strong music traditions,
reputations, but you need to ensure the
their military connections and are
these schools are also strong in music and
school is right for your child’s skills and
proud of their military background.
not just in their military bands.
Apart from Queen Victoria School, they welcome applications from
As with choosing any school, boarders
boarders without a military
and their families should ensure they have
connection, although many boarders
all the information they need about the
come from Service families.
school. Initial research can be undertaken
Being a boarder at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School Being a boarder at The Duke of York’s Royal Military School (DOYRMS) since September 2020 has been a new experience for me. The school has quickly become my home away from home where I have made new friends. The pastoral staff – my houseparents, matrons and tutors – helped me to settle in very quickly. Like all my friends, I was nervous about starting a new school (especially a boarding school when I would be away from my parents) but from the first day here I felt secure, cared for and inspired.
“The school has quickly become my home away from home.”
I have enjoyed all the lessons with science
In my boarding house, I share my dorm
Since starting at DOYRMS, I have learnt
becoming my favourite subject because
with other girls and we have made very
so much in my lessons but also useful
of the experiments we get to enjoy in the
close bonds – I know we will be friends
life skills such as making my bed. My
laboratories. There are many clubs and
for life. There is lots of space in our
parents are really proud to hear from
activities to take part in and we even have
boarding house including day rooms
the school staff about my hard work and
our own athletics track, indoor heated
and quiet rooms and we have access to
determination, and my teachers believe I
pool, fitness suite and two climbing walls!
games consoles, Sky TV and lots of DVDs.
am working above my predicted grades.
When new students arrive at the school
The school’s dining hall reminds me of
Overall, I have loved being a boarder at
they are issued with their own laptops
Hogwarts from Harry Potter and it serves
DOYRMS because of the friends I have
which has been really useful in the
very tasty meals. We go to breakfast,
made and the new experiences on offer.
classroom, prep and free time. We get to
lunch and dinner as a boarding house,
take these home with us during school
but the whole school eats together which
holidays too. There is wi-fi throughout the
makes us feel like a large Dukie family. As
school and we are allowed our phones
everyone is a boarder at the school, sixth-
during free time so keeping in touch with
formers are on hand to help us and there
our parents is easy.
are always staff around if we need them.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / SCHOOLS FOUNDED BY THE MILITARY / 43
Life as a boarder at Gordon’s
“You make lifelong friends when you board.” I’ve been a boarder at Gordon’s since Year 9 and am
When I first arrived, I was in a dormitory with other
now in Year 12. My parents live in Dubai. It was my
girls but now I’m in sixth form and there are 20 of us
first time boarding but I got used to it in two weeks!
sharing a boarding house. While the boarding house
I would recommend boarding to anyone. There are
staff nearby are always on hand and keep an eye on
always distractions, extra activities and a structure
us, we have our own kitchen and living room, and
that makes you do work on time. I love living with the
we are responsible for our laundry and keeping the
other girls. There is always someone there. They’re
house tidy. It’s really given us more freedom and
your mates, like family and some nights it’s like having
more responsibility – and it sets you up very well for
a big sleepover! There are really enjoyable things you
can do, like going down to the sports hall and playing volleyball, the sixth-form quiz – that was great fun.
After 7.30pm when we’ve had prep and supper, everyone mingles with the different boarding houses. Sometimes we play volleyball or dodgeball. Some people like to use the fitness suite then. There is always something to do or somewhere to go. You make lifelong friends when you board and I love that I am doing something all the time.
Will Chuter Head, Cranbrook School
The benefits of state boarding If you are looking for affordable boarding and a cracking all-round education for your children, you need look no further than this small group of effective and indeed, cost-effective schools. Put simply, parents of children at state boarding schools pay only for the boarding fee – broadly £11,000 to £17,000 per year – receiving in return a topflight education and boarding experience.
Boarding in state schools is treasured
co-curricular activities than their day
as a distinct and special part of what we
counterparts. It is typical to find a thriving
offer. The quality of accommodation in
CCF and a popular Duke of Edinburgh’s
Cranbrook’s six boarding houses matches
Award scheme, both providing
what I have experienced in some of the
outstanding opportunities for personal
nation’s very best independent boarding
and leadership development. These
schools. Equally, the pastoral care from
are usually combined with rich musical,
resident and visiting staff is excellent
theatrical and sporting programmes
– the team is as dedicated and skilled
that give the whole school a constant
as any I have worked with. This is all
buzz. Consequently, facilities have to
underpinned by a strong House identity –
be excellent. At Cranbrook, we have
at Cranbrook, a pupil’s own House is the
a performing arts centre, sports hall,
best in school, and for me this has always
astroturf, theatre, swimming pool, 70
been the litmus test for a successful
acres of sports pitches, and much more.
boarding culture. State boarding schools cater for the
CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES Happy boarders are usually busy boarders, and state boarding schools tend to offer a far wider array of
needs and interests of every child. Weekends are full and there are many opportunities for trips, socialising and fun. Lifelong memories and friendships
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / STATE BOARDING SCHOOLS / 45
are made. The boarding community in
them to develop effective study habits and
a state boarding school is diverse, with
use of prep time. Outstanding tutoring
British boarders making friends for life
in the House itself by members of staff
with overseas boarders, as well as with the
who know and understand their charges
local day pupil population. This, combined
well supports this. For higher education,
with relative freedom from their parents
selective state boarding schools will
for days or weeks at a time, allows pupils
regularly field large numbers of serious
to build the resilience and independence
contenders each year for Oxbridge and
they need to become healthy and happy
medical, veterinary and dentistry schools
young adults. Character education has
and other leading universities in the Sutton
always been at the heart of state boarding.
Trust 13 or Russell Group.
ADDING VALUE TO ACADEMIC PROGRESS Boarding also develops pupils who are fulfilled and successful in their work, and it has been shown to add value to academic progress. This is almost certainly because we have more time with our boarders than our day pupils and can work longer with
You can find out more about state boarding from the BSA State Boarding Forum’s website. Go to www.boarding. org.uk/for-parents-pupils/types-ofboarding-school/ Or why not come and find out for yourselves! We are extremely proud of our pupils and what we have to offer and would love to meet you.
Will Chuter went to Cranbrook School before reading Ancient History at Durham University and training as a Classics teacher at King’s College London. He caught the boarding bug as Head of Classics and Housemaster at Uppingham School, then went on to lead boarding as Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Gresham’s School. He has been Head of Cranbrook School since 2021.
Choosing state boarding State boarding schools are often described as ‘education’s bestkept secret’. Certainly I meet many prospective parents who have found the sector almost by chance and who once introduced are impressed by the range of facilities, types of school and examination results across our schools. State boarding is only available to UK passport holders, those with the right of abode in the UK and those with ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status (but that only applies to existing pupils, not new ones). Education is provided free of charge, so parents only pay for boarding.
Jonathan Taylor Chief Executive Officer, Sapientia Education Trust (SET)
Prep School is located on the same site as
Wymondham College, enabling the children of the Prep School to access teaching
expertise from both the Prep School and the College. The Prep School will also
draw on the expertise of the Sapientia
Education Trust (SET), which was founded
by Wymondham College and incorporates
16 schools in Norfolk and Suffolk. For more information, go to www.se-trust.org
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE I firmly believe boarding adds significant value to young people, developing their independence, resilience and self-esteem. In 2016 three state boarding schools were in the top 20 non-selective state schools at GCSE and state boarding schools topped the league tables in three regions of the country. University entrance rates are very high, with Russell Group and Oxbridge entry well above national averages. And it’s not just academic success – several England rugby players attended state boarding schools.
State boarding schools vary considerably by
Wymondham College has around 650
size and location but they all share a strong
boarders and offers a strong academic
commitment to the value of boarding and
curriculum combined with excellent pastoral
State boarding schools may offer single-sex
provide excellent facilities and systems of
care. Typically it runs more than 65 weekly
boarding or mixed boarding. Some have
care. In total around 5,000 pupils enjoy
extra-curricular activities, a wide range of
boarding houses covering the entire school
boarding in a diverse, varied and hugely
international trips and visits and has a strong
age while others divide into key stages or
successful range of schools. The sector
commitment to sport, music, drama, CCF
run a separate sixth-form boarding house.
consists of large mixed non-selective
and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. It offers
They all offer strong systems of pastoral
schools, free schools, grammar schools
27 different A-level courses but other state
support and care, ensuring pupils are well
and schools that offer mixed or single-sex
boarding schools provide different pathways,
known by staff and their individual needs are
for example the IB is available in some
catered for. Pupil-voice activities are strongly
schools and others offer an excellent range
promoted and pupils are given opportunities
of vocational courses.
to lead and contribute to their schools.
Although most state boarding schools offer secondary places, primary boarding is available too. Wymondham College
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / STATE BOARDING SCHOOLS / 47
Lancaster Royal Grammar School State Day and Boarding School for Boys Aged 11 to 18 Coeducational Sixth Form Founded in 1472 we are one of the UK’s top grammar schools for boys with a coeducational Sixth Form. Exceptional value for money with free tuition. Fees for boarding are only one third of the fees of independent schools. Our commitment to achieving excellence at an educational and extracurricular level makes LRGS an exceptional place to learn and grow as an individual. Rated ‘Outstanding for Boarding’ by Ofsted 2019. Boarding for boys aged 11-18, girls and boys for Sixth Form. 2021 results: Over 83% of all A-level results were graded A*, A or B. 70% of all pupils gained at least seven GCSE grades at 7, 8 & 9. 13 Oxbridge offers in 2022. Please visit our website to find out more.
“Pupils enjoy a first-class range of enrichment activities”. Ofsted
“The school has at its heart the aim to help children to excel.” Ofsted
“Sixth Form provision is outstanding” Ofsted
Sixth Form Open Evening in October 2022 Lancasterroyalgrammarschool
Boarding houses are homely with soft furnishings often the norm and I have yet to have a poor meal in ten years of working in the sector! Day-to-day life follows a typical boarding school pattern. At Wymondham College breakfast starts from 7.15am, lessons from 8.30am, the school day ends at 3.45pm and our extra-curricular programme starts at 4pm. Prep is completed in the evenings (with boarding staff, more often than not teachers, on hand to support) and we offer Saturday morning school, with a full range of sporting fixtures on Saturday afternoons. Parents and students choose state boarding for many reasons and our communities are grounded and diverse. Some prefer the state boarding offer, others are attracted by high standards and value for money, others are attracted to the
through an inspection report. I always
distinctiveness of individual schools. Across
encourage parents to visit several schools
the sector there are very high satisfaction
before choosing, ensuring the best match
rates from parents and pupils.
for their child. State boarding schools are proud of what we deliver. As one journalist
State boarding schools are subject to
commented on a visit to the College, ‘this
regular Ofsted inspections, including an
feels like any leading independent school’.
Ofsted boarding inspection every three
Like colleagues in the independent sector,
years. Reports are available online but we
we are simply committed to high-quality
recommend a personal visit because it can
Jonathan Taylor is Chief Executive Officer of the Sapientia Education Trust (SET) which was founded by Wymondham College and incorporates 16 schools in Norfolk and Suffolk. He boarded as a child, studied as an undergraduate at Brasenose College, Oxford and has worked for more than 15 years in the state boarding sector. He is a committee member of the BSA State Boarding Forum, has sat on the Norfolk Safeguarding Board and is a trustee of several other schools.
be difficult to convey the ethos of a school
The Royal School Wolverhampton
Excellent GCSE & A Level results Outstanding pastoral care Affordable state boarding for 11-18 year olds Centrally located with excellent UK travel links Extensive enrichment opportunities
Co-educational day and boarding school for students aged 11-18 • Welcoming family environment • Outstanding academic achievement • Exceptional range of co-curricular & extracurricular activities
• £3,750 per term (no tuition fees) • Music scholarship available
Located in rural Oxfordshire, 90 minutes from London by train
Tel: 01902 341230 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theroyalschool.co.uk
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / STATE BOARDING SCHOOLS / 49
If you are considering boarding, a state
academies or free schools. These schools
In England there are 34 mainstream
boarding school may be an option. As
give priority to children who have a particular
members of the BSA State Boarding Forum
always, it is important to do your research
need to board and will assess children’s
(SBF) and 32 are listed here, including
and above all, see the school in action before
suitability for boarding. At state boarding
academies and free schools. For more
you make any choice. State boarding schools
schools and academies, including sixth-form
information on state boarding schools go to
provide free education but charge fees for
colleges, parents pay between £10,000 and
boarding. Some state boarding schools are
£17,000 per year for their children to board,
run by local councils and others are run as
with an average of £12,000 per year.
State boarding schools School
Beechen Cliff School
Number of boarders 34
Colchester Royal Grammar School
Hockerill Anglo-European College
Lancaster Royal Grammar School
City of Liverpool Borough
Old Swinford Hospital
Metropolitan Borough of Dudley
Peter Symonds College
Richard Huish College
Ripon Grammar School
North East Yorkshire and Humber
Royal Alexandra & Albert School
St George’s School, Harpenden Academy Trust
Steyning Grammar School
The Duke of York’s Royal Military School
The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe
The Royal School, Wolverhampton
Metropolitan Borough of Wolverhampton
The Thomas Adams School Shropshire
The Wellington Academy
Wymondham College Prep School
The benefits of sixth-form
boarding Sixth-form colleges provide high
Admission to a state boarding school is
quality academic education for 16- to
for pupils who hold a full UK passport
18-year-old pupils enabling them to
or who can meet the eligibility funding
progress to university, the workplace
criteria from the Educational and Skills
or higher-level vocational education.
Funding Agency (ESFA), e.g. British
There are 277 colleges in the UK
Nationals Overseas, Dependents.
and 62 are designated as sixth-form
Sixth-form colleges and FE colleges can
colleges, offering an extensive range of
apply for a Sponsor Licence to attract
academic, technical and professional
international pupils to study their
courses as well as apprenticeships.
Level 3 (usually A level) qualifications.
Sixth-form colleges have a reputation
Many of these sixth-form colleges offer
for academic excellence, many of them
homestay accommodation to their pupils
being rated Outstanding by Ofsted.
but a few offer full boarding facilities,
However, they do not have a history
operated by the college, including
of offering boarding accommodation –
Richard Huish College. Several FE colleges
something we have changed at Richard
offer boarding, but they are still in the
Huish College in Taunton.
While state boarding schools are well
WELCOMING ALL PUPILS At Richard Huish College, based in Taunton, the boarding house opened its doors to pupils from around the world, including the UK, in 2017. The house has 53 study bedrooms, all with ensuite bathrooms. The College has been welcoming pupils from around the world for many years but knew that while homestay parents do an amazing job of nurturing pupils new to the UK, there were also some pupils who would prefer the boarding house experience. The boarding house means the College can offer choice and flexibility to pupils and their parents – essentially offering an independent school sixth-form experience at a fraction of the cost.
established, boarding at a sixth-form college is a relatively rare concept. Each year, state boarding schools regularly outperform other state schools with a good number topping academic league tables around the country. The combination of the excellent statefunded education and a boarding community enables pupils to make the most of their talents and abilities. However, these schools offer Level 2 (GCSE) and Level 3 (A level) qualifications and are for pupils aged 11 to 18, while a sixth-form college only has pupils who are between 16 and 19 years.
Emma Fielding Principal, Richard Huish College
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / STATE BOARDING SCHOOLS / 51
Sixth-form boarding at a state college is
preparation for university life. Boarding
dynamic college environment bringing
also an option for UK pupils who travel
students make a great circle of friends
together large numbers of talented
long distances daily. Flexi-boarding or
in the boarding house, often friends
and aspirational young people who can
weekly boarding is a great option when a
they will have for life. A rigorous set of
explore their independence, while still
late sports fixture or exam preparation
Ofsted boarding standards is adhered
providing a controlled and safe college
needs to take priority. Many of our pupils
to, ensuring the pastoral welfare and
live rurally – parents see the advantages
academic development of all pupils. Admission to Richard Huish College is for
of flexi-boarding while pupils are excited by the opportunity of becoming more
Boarding at sixth form can be affordable
pupils who hold a full UK passport, pupils
if you expand your search criteria to
from UK military families based in the
include the state sector. Many state
UK or abroad or pupils who can meet
Boarding at a sixth-form college, FE
boarding schools have specific areas of
the eligibility funding criteria of the
college or state boarding school, your
expertise you may wish to access, such
ESFA, e.g. British National Overseas,
son or daughter can expect plenty of
as links with Huish Tigers Basketball
Dependents. For further information,
home comforts and a warm welcome
Club, Bristol Bears Rugby and Somerset
go to www.huish.ac.uk/boarding
from the houseparents. Their confidence
Country Cricket Club at Richard Huish
and independence will be nurtured and
College. Your child will have the best
the experience will give them essential
of both worlds – the benefits of a
Emma Fielding became Principal at Richard Huish College in 2020, taking over from John Abbott who moved to become Chief Executive Officer of the Richard Huish Trust. Emma began her career in education as an Educational Researcher at the University of Cambridge before going on to train as a History and Sociology teacher. She has since worked in the post-16 educational sector for more than 18 years.
Life at a state boarding school Dr Chris Pyle Head, Lancaster Royal Grammar School England’s state boarding schools
Co-curricular opportunities are a particular
or expat families from Europe and the
have a very special place in our
strength. After-school activities flourish in a
Middle East and boarders from Hong Kong
education system. They often have an
residential community with no commuting
and West Africa are all well represented.
‘independent’ ethos and education is
required. Many pupils play competitive
free. Boarding fees are typically around
sport against independent schools, some
a third of the cost of independent
schools offer outstanding debating and
music while others, including LRGS, place a high value on thriving CCF Army, Naval and
State boarding schools come in all shapes
RAF sections as a mainstay of their outdoor
and sizes, from non-selective schools in
and leadership programmes.
rural settings to grammar schools in towns and small cities. A few are single-sex while
Academic results are a major factor for
others are co-educational. Several are
most parents in choosing a state boarding
very ancient – Lancaster Royal Grammar
school, and here too the sector punches
School (LRGS) traces its roots back to the
above its weight. ‘Value-added’ analysis
thirteenth century – while others have been
shows that our boarders tend to do even
established recently to meet demand in this
better than day pupils at GCSE, as a result
of the support and encouragement they receive from boarding staff who engage
All state boarding schools are united by
with boarders’ academic challenges during
a shared belief in the opportunities of
and outside prep times.
boarding. There is a consistent concern for
MODERN LIFE Most of our families are ‘first generation’ boarders. They may not initially have considered boarding or even been aware that exceptional state schools offer this opportunity. Boarding fits modern life for many families living with the realities of commuting, travel commitments, divided families or older siblings away at university. A mother bringing up her son on her own told me how boarding allows her to manage her growing business, while her son benefits from positive role models and support. ‘We have the best weekends ever!’ said the mother of another weekly boarder. The boarding experience changes with age. Our younger boarders are in light and airy
the wellbeing and personal development
At LRGS, around half of our 170 boarders
shared dorms of four to six. The emphasis
of the young people in our schools.
live within an hour of the school, but
is on establishing excellent habits both in
Wraparound pastoral care creates a very
growing numbers are from London and
boarding and in the classroom. Pastoral
special environment where friendships
elsewhere in the UK. We have about 50
care is led by the housemaster and the
and shared activities become for many the
overseas students, who must have UK
matrons – whose days include reuniting
defining privilege of their teenage years.
passports or right of UK residence. Bilingual
pupils with lost property and supplying
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / STATE BOARDING SCHOOLS / 53
toast! Evening tutors supervise prep, with young sports grads and sixth-form mentors often on hand. Plenty of summer evenings are spent chasing either a ball or each other round the fields. Junior boarding has the excitement of a secret society: boarders and day pupils are indistinguishable in school, but boarders have the key to an extra world – while many day pupils head for a long journey home. In the GCSE years, boarders normally share a dorm with one other pupil, and in the sixth form all boarders are in single rooms. Revision season sees pupils working together – but with occasional encouragement to head out for an impromptu barbecue or game of dodgeball to relieve the pressure.
STEPPING STONE TO UNIVERSITY Parents increasingly see sixth-form boarding as an excellent stepping stone to university. We encourage all our senior boarders to take on leadership positions and to engage with the local community – from planting trees to hosting our local residents’ Christmas party.
and open communication with parents
students if you can – at open days, for a
is the aspect that has changed most in
tour on a normal school day, and perhaps
recent years. ‘I Facetime my dad twice a
for an evening taster session. Come and
day,’ one overseas boarder told me recently
see what makes us special.
– although most teenagers struggle to communicate quite so frequently! You can tell a certain amount from a
State boarding is very much a shared
school’s website and reputation, but it is
enterprise between parents and school,
important to visit and meet staff and
Dr Chris Pyle has been Head of Lancaster Royal Grammar School since 2012. He was state-educated in Oxfordshire and went on to complete a degree and PhD in Geography at Cambridge University. He was previously Deputy Head at the Perse School, Cambridge.
SCAN FOR MORE INFORMATION
Great stories begin here ‘Boarding lies at the heart of this Somerset School’ - Tatler Schools Guide BOOK YOUR SCHOOL VISIT TODAY #GreatSto rie sBe g inHere
Co-Educational Boarding & Day Prep School | Outstanding Extra-Curricular Activities | Forces Discount 01963 442 606 | www.hazlegrove.co.uk | email@example.com | Sparkford, Somerset, BA22 7JA
Boarding lessons from COVID-19 Natalie Bone Head, Sherborne Prep
As teachers, we constantly look back and reflect. We learn from experience: what would we do differently next time? What went well? What are the areas for improvement? As boarding staff, we do the same, with the emphasis on the care of the child – being in loco parentis is a trusted and privileged position to hold and the children under our roof deserve the best care. COVID-19 has provided plenty of opportunity to reflect on and adapt our approach. Boarding houses have had to deal with much reduced movement of children as a result of the restrictions in international travel and the closure of schools. Although this carries with it a significantly changed environment, like all good boarding staff we enjoy a challenge! So, how have we turned this to our and the pupils’ advantage? Flexibility has been key, with staff, parents and pupils all feeling the pressure to get things right and keep everyone safe from COVID-19. The boarding house has had to become, more than ever, an oasis of calm in a rapidly changing world. The care and attention boarding staff have given pupils and their families during the pandemic has been critical. Simply put, the pandemic has brought to the boarding house a true family environment.
Traditionally when we have talked about a
the ban on fixtures or trips, creativity in
family environment in a boarding school,
devising activities on site and at times in the
we have focused on a houseparent who
absence of a full school catering provision,
delivers the family feel in the boarding
turning hands to cooking for everyone.
house and where the children in the house
Although not without its challenges, this
see each other as siblings. However, during
has allowed us to revisit what it is to be a
the pandemic this has in many cases been
boarding family; not just putting a routine in
taken a step further. Dedicated staff have
place that lets the house run smoothly but
taken on an even greater holistic role:
providing full support to each pupil.
full weekend entertainment because of
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 55
A FULL CONNECTION The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of communication, and not just ‘tick box’ communication, but a full connection with families and friends who have not been able to be present. Interestingly, in many cases those not in the boarding house have said they felt starved of their friendship groups, but the bonds boarders have developed with each other have been very strong and will surely last for years to come – the boarders will remember being part of an extended family in the darkest of times. In many ways, boarding houses are stronger because of COVID-19. We have all had to adapt at a remarkable speed. Homes have become clubs and activities, living rooms have become classrooms, bedrooms have become libraries. Parents have become teachers and siblings have become classmates. These have been testing times but also a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to our pupils and families and make a difference to their lives.
Natalie Bone is in her second Headship at Sherborne Prep having been Head at Sidcot Junior School, a houseparent and teacher of Maths at Millfield School, Head of Maths and houseparent at Millfield Prep School plus time working at Port Regis. Her degree from Reading University led to a career in finance before training to become a teacher. She has also enjoyed success in the world of dressage. Natalie is married to Matt, the Director of Art at Sherborne School, and they have two grown-up children, as well as several horses and dogs.
Charlie Jenkins Head, Shebbear College
The pandemic has sent a tornado through the educational sector in the last couple of years, especially for boarding schools with international pupils. However, there have also been silver linings for boarding schools, with many positives taken from the lockdowns. These include the expansion of remote and blended online learning, living together intensively in boarding house lockdowns and communicating online with parents. I am proud of our pupils, parents and staff for embracing these new ways of working with good humour, determination and resilience. In fact, we are now a school at the forefront of digital teaching and learning and ahead of where we would have been if the pandemic had not happened. Teachers and pupils have embraced remote, live and blended learning with open arms in the last two academic years – technology and direct human interaction at its best.
HAWC, perhaps because they are isolating,
many evenings catching up on the latest
Delivering live lessons has transformed
they can click in remotely – our pupils are
government guidelines. She has ensured
our opportunities in teaching, learning and
never alone. In fact, while the boarding
the school’s measures to keep pupils safe
collaborative working across the globe.
houses were locked down, the boarders
are fully aligned with BSA guidelines and the
Pupils are accessing lessons from their
had a great time – daily updates and
National Minimum Standards for Boarding.
homes or boarding houses when isolating
fun and laughter from the houses could
She has also arranged all the travel
and when in quarantine hotels overseas.
be heard across the campus. Everyone
arrangements for boarders including flights,
In fact, teaching and learning has not gone
embraced the challenges with positivity and
transfers, quarantine and testing.
backwards – it has accelerated.
a ‘can-do’ attitude.
At Shebbear College, the social and
SAFE, HAPPY AND COMFORTABLE Our boarding staff work very closely to ensure our pupils are not only safe but also happy and comfortable. We have appointed a Compliance Manager who has managed the compliance of the school throughout the pandemic – she has spent
One of the biggest challenges for us during emotional wellbeing of our pupils continues to be at the heart of everything we do. We have a Health and Wellbeing Centre (HAWC) on campus and our experienced, caring staff support each pupil in whatever way they need. If a boarding pupil cannot get to the
the pandemic has been writing and then implementing whole school COVID-19 risk assessments to keep everyone safe. The key to successful implementation has been communication and clarity. There is no point in having a risk assessment if nobody reads it and we have spent time talking to
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 57
pupils and parents to explain why we have the protocols in place – everyone has responded superbly. Our online parent meetings via ‘School Cloud’ have been a revolutionary addition to our communication strategy to parents, especially for overseas pupils. Communicating across international borders and time differences has never been easier. Here is some feedback from a Year 7 parent: ‘Thank you for the amazing effort the school has made for home learning. When I found out we were home schooling a feeling of dread filled me – we did not have a positive experience of it at our last school. I have barely known my son has been home. He has logged on and completed all his lessons plus activities which I think is above and beyond what was expected. I wanted to say how impressed I have been with everything the school has done for this home learning and how much effort the teachers have put in, so thank you. It is so reassuring to know that my children’s education is in safe hands with staff who care and a school that is willing to make an effort to help them achieve their goals.’ Charlie joined Shebbear College in September 2020 as the Senior Deputy Head. He became Head in September 2022 when he took over from Caroline Kirby. Before joining Shebbear, Charlie was the Deputy Head (Academic and Co-curricular) at Licensed Victuallers’ School, Ascot. Before that he worked at Pangbourne College, Berkshire, where he was Head of Geography and Assistant Boarding Housemaster. In his free time Charlie enjoys the outdoors, running, kite surfing and walking his dog, Ted.
John Browne Head, Stonyhurst College
Throughout the pandemic, Stonyhurst, like all schools and sectors, had an exciting opportunity to challenge and change traditional thinking around teaching, living, and learning. The Jesuit concept of having ‘one foot in the air’, ready for the next challenge, perhaps had never been more relevant. The journey since March 2020 has led to new understandings as schools emerge from lockdown. The challenges presented by COVID-19 have accelerated the implementation of digital strategies in educational settings. For example, all pupils from Year 5 upwards at Stonyhurst now have a school-issued device. Lessons take advantage of Microsoft OneNote and there is an increase in well-chosen digital resources and online textbooks available to pupils. The advantage for boarders is that instead of hauling around multiple folders and books at the end of term as part of their luggage, they
its parent consultations online so that every
social media events such as assemblies,
can simply pack their device in their hand
parent can attend, rather than limiting to
house competitions, masses and other
luggage and they have everything they need
those who would have traditionally had to
celebrations with the wider school
to continue their studies in the holidays. By
travel to or across the UK to attend.
learning offer during periods of lockdown
This has also improved things for busy
Part of the joy of boarding is the community
now gives schools the ability to reassure
day pupil parents, who no longer have
feel of the boarding houses, where
pupils and their parents that any potential
to make babysitting arrangements to
boarders share their lives together.
durations of quarantine or isolation will not
attend school consultations and also no
Boarders are used to the busyness of the
result in children missing out on lessons,
longer have to queue for conversations
house and having their friends ‘on tap’.
pastoral support or the community spirit
with teachers. Zoom calls have allowed
With COVID-19, boarding communities
that is so important in a boarding school.
teachers and pastoral staff to have face-
were scattered worldwide. Although
to-face conversations with parents. This is
almost all boarders returned to school, a
very useful for pastoral conversations as
number found themselves attending online
it introduces a more personal relationship
school from their own homes. Part of the
between parent and teacher. Parents are
challenge for lockdown in a boarding school
more connected now than ever because
was gathering the community together.
schools can also share online or through
Stonyhurst managed to keep the
the same token, the success of the online
CONNECTING WITH PARENTS As well as advances in technology aiding pupils in their lessons, schools now have better and more frequent communications with parents. Stonyhurst has moved all of
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 59
community connected by hosting online house competitions, or in our case line competitions, from interline MasterChef to the toilet roll challenge, interline music and quizzes that brought boarders and their families together. We have found pupils have a heightened sense of the value of community living since returning to school, no longer taking things for granted. Live Christmas parties, interline competitions and even singing practice helped ground pupils in their return to the ‘new normal’. Boarding schools now need to keep the best of the innovations while returning to the in-person schooling that makes boarding life so exciting. Throughout the pandemic, pupils and the wider school family benefited from guidance, stability, structure, commonality of purpose and anchorage to a school community from their boarding schools.
John Browne became Headmaster of Stonyhurst in 2016. Before this, he was Headmaster of St Aloysius’s College Glasgow, Deputy Headmaster of Ampleforth College and Headmaster of Westminster Cathedral Choir School. An alumnus of St Ignatius’s College Enfield, John obtained his BA (Hons) in Music from the University of Bristol and has a postgraduate LLB from City University, London, and an MBA. John is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and a Governor of St John’s Beaumont.
Out of the ordinary: realising the potential of every child Dr Joe Spence Master, Dulwich College
Deeply embedded in articles on what makes a good school you may find a short paragraph on its provision for the ordinary pupil, but that genus deserves further attention. Some of the hardest work a school has to undertake is to care for the pupils who are seen, or perceive themselves, as ‘nothing special’. Independent schools celebrate the plethora of opportunities available to their pupils but don’t always work hard enough to interrogate who is taking them up. Many a school will take too great a pride in what is achieved by the prodigies (who would have done well anywhere), and every decent school looks after its strugglers, but it’s in ‘the middle of the middle’ that there is most value to be added and most to be done. Schools are getting better at understanding the problems posed by the coasting or professedly unexceptional pupil. There are six key questions for parents to ask of a school to make sure it is alert to the issue.
Does the school have a motivational reward system? Commendations need to be accessible not only to the élite, but for the improving pupils too, with their focus on effort over attainment. Pupils must be able to feel a pride in their progress in all their enterprises – creative, sporting, charitable, adventurous and academic. And schools should not underestimate the value of a mention in assembly or in the school magazine of somebody who doesn’t usually feature in despatches. A good school will employ strong tracking systems to distinguish the real middle from the false middle (i.e. the merely indolent or disengaged) and to establish aspirational target setting as a basis for conversations between tutors and all their pupils.
How integral to the school’s ethos is good tutoring? Pupils need to be sponsored by committed tutors and be well known to their housemasters and year heads. When you visit a school check they know all their pupils well – and not just their stars or strugglers. A good tutor teases out the hopes and fears of every pupil and nudges the reluctant pupil towards engagement. A good tutor respects every pupil for who he or she is. Pupils want to feel cherished for who they are, not what the school wants them to be. The best tutors are also great role models: adults engaged in and supportive of the school and its ethos (albeit sometimes as critical friends). Form structure is important too; as many children as possible should have access to promotion on merit and there should be evidence that the school is cognisant of the danger of sink forms.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 61
ST GEORGE’S SCHOOL HARPENDEN
A non-denominational Christian day and boarding school
11-18 coeducational boarding at one of the UK's top performing non-selective schools for less than £5000 per term En suite study bedrooms for every sixth form boarder | Total flexibility over full or weekly boarding Herts AL5 4TD | firstname.lastname@example.org | 01582 765477
A p e r fe c t ly b a l a n c e d t h r ou g h - s cho ol e d u c a t io n fo r b oy s a nd g i rl s i n t he he a r t of E ng l a nd .
Full, weekly and flexi boarding places are available for children from age 7. To arrange your personal tour please call Ellie Jones on 01283 707112 or email email@example.com
“WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO STAY CHILDREN FOR LONGER.”
Is there a breadth of activities available to and taken up by all pupils? Parents might check up on just how many matches the lower ability teams play, how inclusive music and drama really are and how much the school’s clubs and societies engage all rather than some. I reflect on the boys at Dulwich who have found their platforms and niches at one remove from the mainstream: the boy with a love of reading who has led the book club and creative writing groups; the boy who struggles with ball sports but who in rowing has found a social life as well as a sport to enjoy; the boy who loves the theatre, not as an actor but in doing the lighting or sound. At an early age, there should be an opportunity for everyone to ‘be and do everything’. Junior school sport is judged by 100 per cent participation rather than by the win:lose ratio of A teams, while all boys in Years 3 and 4 learn to play a stringed instrument and a wind instrument. Meanwhile, at the top of the school, you might want to check school colours are awarded to those who shine in community service or the CCF as well as in sport and that the school’s senior prefects represent a cross-section of the school population. Does the school offer pupil voice opportunities to a broad crosssection of pupils? Tutors should be sending a variety of pupils to school council meetings or learning forums and sometimes sending the more reluctant, those out of their comfort zone, as representing ‘the middle voice’. It is also important to enable leadership opportunities for the non-stellar pupil – to find an alternative engagement for those disappointed not to become prefects.
of its prevailing culture. So, if there is a
wellbeing between the teachers, parents
belief that hard work and enthusiasm are at
and the pupils themselves.
the heart of success, the middle group will accept that.
How well developed is the school’s house system and what is the culture and ethos of the boarding house? A good house system, like a good housemaster or housemistress, can elicit a strong sense of community and cooperation and provide an opportunity for all to shine through a wide range of competitions (cultural as well as sporting). In a good house, strong peer relationships and the right kind of peer pressure encourage all boarders to engage and lead activity. Peer mentoring creates opportunities for boarders to learn from each other’s struggles and achievements. In a boarding setting particularly pupils can ably support each other’s learning. A key to success in a boarding house as in a school is the scope
Every child matters; every child differs. Of course, it’s inevitable some teachers will
How good is the teaching – and do the best teachers teach all the pupils? Only excellent and flexible teaching can ensure all pupils are equally challenged. The best teachers are those who can portray academic struggle as a learning opportunity, ensuring that pupils do not seek to hide in the anonymous middle ground for fear of getting things wrong. Embracing free learning rather than creating a curriculum that is wholly exam focused also ensures that middling pupils are engaged, by creating different fields in which they can be noticed. Good schools tend to have more parents’ evenings – allowing for discussion of progress and
be drawn to those who shine brightest. A school has to work hard to draw out the ‘middle of the middle’ so they can excel too, but it’s always worth the effort.
Dr Joseph Spence has been Master of Dulwich College since 2009. He was Headmaster of Oakham School from 2002, having taught history and politics at Eton College, where he was Master in College from 1992 to 2002. He jointly leads Southwark Schools Learning Partnership (SSLP), a collaboration of the senior maintained and independent schools in the borough. A trustee of the Mark Evison Foundation, Art History Link Up and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Joe is also a playwright and librettist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 63
Best Academic Progress in Berkshire
Find out more www.leightonpark.com/visit-leighton-park
RATED THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE GRADE - ‘EXCELLENT’ IN OUR ISI INSPECTION 2021
independent • co-educational • day/boarding • 11-18 years
Schools together in partnership Independent schools have been and collaborating with state schools for many years, but it is only in recent years that we have begun to collect data which clearly demonstrates this. Thousands of mutually beneficial partnerships now exist between independent and state schools, unlocking new educational experiences for all involved. This work was reinforced in a ‘Joint Understanding’ with the Department for Education (DfE) announced by the Secretary of State in 2018. The document outlines the commitment of independent schools to voluntarily develop mutually supportive collaborations with maintained
Julie Robinson Chief Executive, Independent Schools Council (ISC) Photo with kind permission of Sherborne School
connecting with their local communities
CHARITABLE STATUS A certain amount of political interest has been generated in connection with charitable status debates over the years and the media often berates fee-charging schools for the ‘tax breaks’ that come with charitable status. In fact, the allocation of bursary awards far exceeds business rates relief granted to those schools which are charities. Even schools that are not charities have taken steps to improve accessibility for families who might not otherwise be able to afford independent school fees, by providing increasing amounts of bursary assistance in recent years. For the academic year 2021–22, £480 million is being provided in means-tested fee assistance for pupils at ISC schools. A judicial review in 2011 ruled that education is of itself a charitable activity. The trustees of schools that are charities have a duty to report to the Charity Commission their school’s work for the public benefit. This work can take the form of awarding bursaries on a means-tested basis for disadvantaged children, children on the edge of care and looked-after children, support for academies and collaborative work that provides a variety of learning and development opportunities to children who would otherwise miss out.
Photo with kind permission of Wells Cathedral School
“Vulnerable subjects, such as modern foreign languages, Latin, music and physics are supported by partnership work.”
It is important that trustees retain flexibility to fulfil any school’s public benefit activity according to local needs and in ways that are appropriate for the school according to its individual capacity. Many schools do not have extensive facilities that can be shared with state schools and there are geographic and other barriers to be considered.
ENCOURAGING PARTNERSHIP ACTIVITIES BETWEEN SCHOOLS The Schools Together website www.schoolstogether.org, which details many excellent partnership projects between independent and state schools, was built with the express purpose of encouraging, showcasing and inspiring partnership working.
WHY WORK TOGETHER? There are economies of scale and various mutual benefits when schools join together to procure services – including the sharing of specialist teachers – and training. A visiting author or speaker can be made available to a range of pupils beyond the host school. Schools can share specific expertise and develop policies.
create a national network, drawing on key examples of sustainable and meaningful partnership work. While partnership activity between independent and state schools has inevitably been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more schools have been able to resume their joint working
Vulnerable subjects, such as modern
as restrictions and absence rates become
foreign languages, Latin, music and physics
less pronounced. These activities include
are supported by partnership work. Pupils
reading with younger pupils, preparing
meeting each other can develop a new way
A-level pupils for higher education, sharing
of seeing the world. Inter-school visits can
facilities and seconding teaching staff.
allow new subject areas, sports, musical instruments and experiences to be shared,
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, 6,963
broadening the horizons of all taking part.
partnerships at 936 schools were recorded in the 2021 calendar year, and we expect
The website was launched in 2016 and although involvement is voluntary, more than
Successful partnerships help to bring
to see more partnership opportunities
6,000 projects have been featured, showing a
communities together in deeper
blossoming between the sectors as school
wide range of partnership activities.
understanding and thereby support social
life continues to return to normal.
cohesion. The pooling of resources enhances The projects are allocated categories such
the overall educational offer for all schools
as academic, drama, governance, music,
involved and by sharing experiences, teachers
sponsorship, sport and design technology.
can benefit from effective professional development. Some schools are working
It is clear from the website that many different
in pairs or small clusters and others are
types of collaborations are underway involving
working in large collaborative groups across
large and smaller schools.
an area such as in York or Birmingham. These groupings develop projects over time and
From full academy sponsorship, such as
forge strong links across the communities
Harris Westminster and the London Academy
involved. The projects grow according to
of Excellence, through to arts projects with
schools’ needs and strengths, building
local primary and special schools; from
mutually supportive communities.
careers guidance and university preparation, to inclusion in dramatic productions and sports tournaments – this website draws together a range of impressive and exciting educational opportunities for all pupils and staff involved. It showcases excellent examples of what is already in place, providing insight into the value of collaboration.
THE FUTURE September 2022 marks the launch of the School Partnerships Alliance (SPA), an organisation that will focus on promoting best partnership practice across state and independent schools. The SPA will bring together schools and other stakeholders to
Julie Robinson is Chief Executive of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) – the collective voice of the independent education sector. In her role, Julie serves the interests of the ISC’s constituent associations and 1,390-plus member schools through conversations with the Government and in the media. The ISC brings together five associations representing headteachers, one governors’ association and one bursars’ association, along with four affiliate associations that represent boarding, Scottish, Welsh and international independent schools. Before becoming ISC Chief Executive, Julie was a teacher, housemistress and Head of Ardingly College Junior School and then Vinehall Prep School in Sussex. After these headships, she was Education and Training Director for the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS). She is governor of a state school and an independent school.
Photo with kind permission of Wells Cathedral School
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 65
Supporting character development in a boarding school Young people today need first-class tuition and the finest academic qualifications to succeed, but they also need strength of character and skills such as communication, teamwork and resilience, to build happy, fulfilling and worthwhile lives. A boarding education can provide the building blocks for character and success. As the school curriculum narrows, the boarding school’s emphasis on educating the whole child provides plenty of opportunities to develop a wider set of skills and qualities. At Bloxham, our activities programme offers pupils 100 options, ranging from mainstream sports to minor ones, and from music, drama and art, to astronomy and Young Enterprise. Balancing breadth with specialism, our tutors work with pupils to help them select options which will both stimulate and challenge. They encourage pupils to give everything a go – in our view, it’s good to try new things, to persevere at acquiring new skills and to learn to laugh when you fail. Where talent and interests emerge, a boarding school can allow pupils time and resource for passions and expertise to flourish. With a flexible boarding model, it is possible to take an open approach to pursuits which naturally develop outside of school.
OUTDOOR EDUCATION In common with many boarding schools, outdoor education runs through the lifeblood of Bloxham School. First introduced in our Lower School, outdoor education increases in challenge as pupils move through their years with us. Our Year 7 and 8 pupils enjoy annual camps and the not-to-be-missed Alps trip, when they get to test their nerve white-water rafting and canyoning, building life-lasting memories on the way down.
Paul Sanderson Headmaster, Bloxham School
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 67
Over many years, boarding schools have learnt that trying new activities in a fun environment can generate excitement for learning outdoors. This in turn lays the foundations of communication, teamwork and resilience upon which young people will rely so often in the future. These skills can be further developed in more demanding environments, for example, through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) and the CCF. Schemes like these help pupils broaden their horizons, develop their leadership skills, learn to work with others, and prove to themselves they can succeed at a serious challenge.
CONTRIBUTING TO THE COMMUNITY Bloxham is a Christian foundation school. As such we value kindness and compassion, and we teach pupils the value of contributing to their community. Through our wellsupported service programme pupils volunteer at food banks, care homes and local primary schools each week, giving them a lasting experience of making a difference. One such relationship led to a beautiful collaboration, which saw a design technology A-level pupil dedicate his examined project to a local hospice. Working to the hospice director’s brief, the pupil designed and made symbols, features and artefacts to enable the hospice chapel to become a multi-faith place for worship and reflection. Now installed, they are having a moving effect on the hospice’s community. They have also shown our pupil, and indeed the whole school community, the impact they can have when they give something back.
Each year we fundraise for a variety of
to invest in their community, realise their
charities – from local causes such as
actions have consequences and learn to
Katharine House Hospice, to charities close
take responsibility. This blend of education
to the heart of our community. Fundraising
helps them grow into happy, well-adjusted
challenges have included sporting feats
young people, with the values and strength
such as triathlons and marathon distances,
of character to do something good with their
leg waxing, car washing, cake baking and
clothing sales. Experiences like these show children the importance of teamwork and determination and teach them to look beyond themselves, appreciate their good fortune and help those with less. Perhaps most importantly, boarding environments teach pupils the importance of tolerance and respect, how to work together to achieve their goals and how to live harmoniously with others. Boarders learn
Paul Sanderson has been Headmaster at Bloxham School since 2013. Before this he was Deputy Head at Gordonstoun, where he also spent three years as a Housemaster. He was an Assistant Housemaster at both Oundle and Lancaster Royal Grammar. Educated at Banbridge Academy, he studied Evolutionary Biology and Genetics at the University of St Andrews and he has a Masters in Educational Research from Cambridge University. At Bloxham, he continues to teach biology and enjoys joining outdoor excursions including climbing.
Building resilience in boarding WHAT IS RESILIENCE? In a report by Public Health England, Building children and young people’s resilience in schools (2014), resilience is described as ‘the capacity to “bounce back” from adverse experiences, and succeed despite adversity.’ The COVID-19 pandemic has most certainly been an adverse experience for children and young people. Elements which promote
schools Thomas Garnier Headmaster, Pangbourne College
resilience, such as regular routines and sleep, physical exercise, access to entertainment, positive family relationships and social support were all affected for a long period of time, so we now have a lot of work to do to build resilience up again.
THE SIGNIFICANCE FOR BOARDERS The report states: ‘While the role of teachers and other school staff is rarely, if ever, as central to resilience-building as that of parents and family, it is still an important element.’ In a boarding school environment, teachers and other staff are permanently acting in loco parentis, so their role in building resilience in boarders under their care is even more significant. Arguably, pupils who board have to immediately call on their reserves of resilience; they are away from their parents and close family, as well as the comforts and familiarity of home, and that’s not easy, especially when you are a young child. This is where experienced, empathetic and resourceful boarding staff are of the utmost importance. Their role is to ensure that boarders are comfortable physically, but also mentally, with the ability to voice their feelings
IT STARTS WITH CULTURE I believe that schools which are successful in fostering resilience in their pupils will have a strong ethos with values at their centre. At Pangbourne College, we have ‘Flag Values’ which include ‘Resilience’ alongside Kindness, Selflessness, Moral Courage, Integrity, Initiative, Industry and Respect.
secure and respectful environment in which all pupils can thrive. Resilience is one of those Flag Values because it is a strength which will support pupils throughout school and beyond. Any pupil or staff member who displays particularly strong resilience is recognised
and concerns and know they will be listened to. It takes a team of people to provide this
For us, the Flag Values underpin
and, on occasion, rewarded. In our
foundation for resilience, which includes
everything we do, from class rewards to
experience, the Flag Values permeate
houseparents, assistant houseparents,
staff recruitment. They are absolutely
through the day-to-day experience of school
matrons, visiting tutors, plus a range of
fundamental to our community as a
and become instilled in pupils over time.
other staff such as teachers and healthcare
boarding school and help to create a
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 69
LEARNING TO BE RESILIENT In addition to strong values, schools should provide opportunities within the curriculum for pupils to experience adversity in a safe environment, so that they can practise ‘bouncing back’ and their resilience can be developed. Naturally, our PSHCE curriculum includes a scheme of work on resilience, which we run in the first term of Year 7, and the rest of the programme has resilience embedded throughout. Alongside this, we encourage pupils to undertake all sorts of activities which foster a strong sense of resilience. These include The Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award and the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) programme. We are licensed to provide the three levels of DofE Award: Bronze (which all pupils do in Year 9), Silver and Gold. Around a third of sixth formers do the Gold Award. The combination of volunteering, physical activities, skills-based exercises and challenging expeditions gives an all-round experience which is fun, rewarding and recognises a young person’s journey of selfdiscovery and development. In particular, the expeditions really teach pupils how to dig deep and keep going, despite the sometimes inhospitable environment! The CCF is based on a foundation of strong shared values, disciplined behaviour and selflessness towards others. Cadets
OPPORTUNITIES TO TAKE THE LEAD I believe that trusting young adults to take responsibility for others and to serve others, also helps to build resilience. At Pangbourne, there are many opportunities for older pupils to take up important roles, such as cadet captain (prefect), peer mentor or captain of sports. All these roles involve leading and supporting younger pupils and help pupils grow in confidence, self-esteem and, of course, resilience.
develop effective communication skills and the ability to think clearly in complex
Almost all our senior pupils volunteer to
situations, solve problems and exercise
be trained as peer mentors and exercise
good judgement and initiative. The
responsibility for younger pupils, who
programme has a unique appeal because
may feel more comfortable talking things
it gives pupils the opportunity to do
through with a peer, rather than a member
something completely different.
of staff. Our sixth formers tell me they really
enjoy this aspect of being a student at Pangbourne College and experience a real sense of joy in serving others. So back to my original question, what is resilience? Nelson Mandela said: ‘Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.’ Getting back up, or ‘bouncing back’ – for our pupils this is one of the most important lessons we can teach them.
Thomas Garnier has been Headmaster at Pangbourne College for over 17 years, having previously been Head of Boarding at Abingdon School and an Officer in the Royal Navy.
Boarding schools and philanthropy: engendering an ethos of kindness and compassion
Matthew Godfrey Senior Deputy Head, Downe House School
One of the joys of boarding is being a
Two, and where it welcomed refugees
include an element of education for the
part of an eclectic school community,
from other countries with open arms. Here
wider school community. This could be
offering pupils, families and staff the
is the testimony of Rosemarie C (Downe
through assemblies, displays and talks
opportunity to come together to create
House, 1943): ‘I arrived in December
by pupils, themed evening and weekend
a ‘local community’ that unites and
1938 at the age of 14, a refugee from
events, or visits by representatives from
stretches across the globe.
Austria, with hardly a word of English, to
organisations. Nominations come from
be greeted by Miss Willis in evening dress,
the heart and often reflect very personal
With both pupils and staff living on site,
surrounded by her Samoyed dogs. Thanks
causes, as well as important issues across
boarding offers the extra time together
to her hospitality and caring concern I
the world and topics that affect young
to share and highlight issues that are
was able to continue my education, and
people today, wherever they are.
important locally and globally, but also
in three years I gained admittance to the
personally. Through their house teams,
University of Reading, and subsequently
Different parts of the school are involved
pupils are supported to collaborate, be
to the London School of Economics. The
in longer-term support too. Upper School
creative and bring others with them as they
friendships, the learning and the concern
boarding houses each have an international
share and rally behind causes that are close
for others, were among the invaluable
link charity supported by fundraising events
to their hearts.
riches I enjoyed at Downe House and they
but also by visits from pupils volunteering
have been an inspiration to me throughout
their time. Charities include Hope Asia,
A culture of helping others is part of
my life. Besides myself, there were three or
Open Arms Malawi, Sparkes Home Sri
the very fabric in boarding schools and
four other refugee children during the war
Lanka, Reality Gives India and Tiger
everyone is encouraged to get involved. In
years, who were also given the opportunity
Kloof School, South Africa. Lower School
a boarding environment, it is inherent for
of a new life.’
boarding houses collectively support the OSCAR Foundation. The common theme
pupils to be compassionate and creative, to work collaboratively and, importantly, to be
In recent years, a large proportion of
with these longer-term associations is
outward-looking. At Downe House this is all
charitable activities have been led by
the empowerment of children and young
part of the DNA that evolved from the ethos
pupils with the result that a broad range
people. Generations of boarders have
of kindness established by the school’s
of activities and causes have been
spent their time together productively to
founder, Olive Willis.
supported, reflecting the many cultures and
play their part in forging and maintaining
beliefs represented in a diverse boarding
these strong associations.
2022 marks the centenary of Downe
school community. Pupils are taught to
House on its campus in Cold Ash, where
understand that ‘education has the power
the school stood throughout World War
to change lives’ and as such activities always
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 71
DONATING THE GIFT OF TIME Supporting charities local to boarding schools enables pupils to donate the gift of time, and to reach out and give something back to the community where they spend a large part of their young lives. For example, every year at Downe House pupils collectively volunteer more than 1,000 hours supporting local organisations. Schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) actively encourage charitable engagements. For Downe House pupils these have ranged from helping to manage local woodlands, to busking for the charity Swings and Smiles, to supporting the Cottismore Gardens ‘Growing2Gether’ project, which promotes interest and awareness in local food and building a garden facility to enable people with learning difficulties to access horticultural therapy.
In 2022, the swell of support for people affected by the crisis in Ukraine has been felt across the globe. In support of Ukraine, a school concert in March 2022 raised over £2,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) fund via Christian Aid. The school’s choir, Prima Voce, performed A Prayer for Ukraine, learnt over two nights in its original Ukrainian language, and later released on social media to support further donations to the DEC fund (https:// fb.watch/cC7Z8n9nQY/). Coordinated by pupils and boarding house staff, the whole school community also supported a local charity, Racing to Help Ukraine, by collecting emergency aid supplies which the charity drove to Ukrainian refugees at the Ukrainian/Polish border with a convoy of horseboxes. The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) has also reported examples of support from its member schools, many of which are boarding schools, for those who have been directly impacted by the invasion of Ukraine. Examples have included raising funds to support the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and providing clothing, food and shelter to Ukrainian refugees. For more information, go to https://www.hmc.org.uk/hmcmember-school-support-for-ukrainianrefugees/
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 73
Matthew is a graduate of Durham University and also holds a Master’s in Education. He started his career with the global consultancy firm Accenture but switched to teaching after seven years in business. He has taught English at secondary schools – both maintained and independent – ever since. He is Senior Deputy Head at Downe House and before this he held posts at Brighton College and Caterham School.
Looking after children and young people’s mental health after COVID-19
I had a heart-breaking meeting with a parent of a child yesterday. She told me a story that was five years in the making and involved almost every type of intervention you would have heard of: doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, social care, you name it, they had either spoken to them or tried it. When I had
David Walker Deputy Head (Pastoral and Wellbeing), Wellington College
a chance to reflect on it, my rather simplistic thought was: ‘How did it come to this?’. When I was young in the 1990s, the umbrella term ‘mental health’ was simply not on our radars; now it seems to be around every corner we turn. The same thought may ring true for others in the generation that is now either parenting or educating today’s children and young people. This can leave us feeling helpless and, at worst, unable to give effective help to those who are struggling.
WHAT IS GOING ON? Issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm and suicidal ideation have steadily increased and, although the Government has increased funding, the support available through NHS channels has not kept pace with demand. The Government paper Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing: a whole school or college approach2 cites research that in 2020 1 in 6 children aged
There has been a well-documented ‘crisis’1 in
5 to 16 had a probable mental health
the mental health of teenagers (and adults)
disorder – up from 1 in 9 in 2017. The
in recent years, particularly because of the
number of referrals to children and young
COVID-19 pandemic. This article aims to give
people’s mental health services between
some practical suggestions to parents of
April and June 2021 increased by 134%
boarding school pupils about mental health
since the same period in 2020, from just
over 80,000 to 190,000, and up almost 100% from the same three-month period in
2019 (approximately 90,000). Public Health England have concluded that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on young people’s mental health, particularly in females and those with pre-existing mental health concerns. Additionally, there continues to be a significant problem surrounding the stigma attached to mental illness which means that people are less willing to seek help and support, often exacerbating the problem.
AND WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT? Schools are certainly responding to this, and parents may well be noticing an uptick of recent initiatives from school settings. Investment from the leadership of schools is certainly welcome, and it is likely that increasing capacity and attention will help
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 75
improve matters. For example, at Wellington we have created a new role called ‘Head of Student Emotional Health and Wellbeing’ and we have appointed a clinical psychologist to the position. She helps me as Deputy Pastoral to ensure that all students in need have an appropriate support plan in place. How about parents? What should they do to best support children and young people? To finish, here are my top five tips for helping children and young people who are struggling to maintain good mental health.
• Communicate throughout: Although stigma is reducing, it is still a powerful force preventing people talking about mental health. Please don’t think you will be the first parents to go to the school to tell them about an issue – you may be surprised how much experience they have. Talk to the school and share your concerns. Seek advice and guidance. Not only will you get the benefit of their expertise and help, but it will support you by feeling that you are part of a team. Once you come out the other side, tell the school what worked and what helped – they are still learning and will appreciate your feedback. Extent of mental health crisis in England at ‘terrifying’ level’, 9 April 2021, The Guardian
Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing: a whole school or college approach, September 2021, Public Health England
Stigma and discrimination, last updated 4 October 2021, Mental Health Foundation
Don’t over-react: If your child comes to you to say things are not right (or if your child’s school has told you about it) then they need to know that you will be able to cope with this and help them get through it. If you react with shock, anger or disbelief, the message they will hear is that you are out of your depth. In those first hours and days you are not expected to have all the answers but remember the power that language has to communicate that you remain the person in their life who loves them unreservedly.
• And don’t under-react: The temptation
• ‘Friends as balloons’: It may not be your
is to explain it away – ‘it’s just a phase’,
child who is struggling but they may tell
‘it’s not that bad’, ‘they are just jumping
you they are worried about a friend. They
on a bandwagon’. Listen, take what they
want to support and listen to their friend,
say at face value and seek professional
but it is clearly getting them down or
support to make a judgement as to the
making them anxious. How can you best
severity of the situation.
advise them? We need to state two things
• Show empathy: It may be very difficult to understand why your beautiful child has decided to self-harm. Your first thought may be one of utter disbelief and amazement – why would anyone do such a thing? But have you ever used unhealthy coping strategies? Have you ever had a hard day and then pushed yourself super-hard in the gym or had a third glass of wine in the evening? Try to understand that whatever the symptoms you are seeing, the causes will be found in the most fundamental aspects of human nature that we all experience.
clearly here – they are not mental health professionals and, secondly, if things are that bad, they should be helping their friend get the appropriate help. Their role is to do all they can to bring light and joy into the friendship. Use the analogy of a balloon: if you keep just blowing air into a balloon without ever playing with it, it will burst. Tie it off and use the balloon to have fun. As the old saying goes: ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’.
David Walker is Deputy Head (Pastoral and Wellbeing) at Wellington College in Berkshire. He has worked in both boarding and day schools and gained experience as a Head of Department and a Housemaster before moving into senior leadership eight years ago. Before his current role at Wellington, David was Head of Senior School at the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge. David keeps himself happy and well with a weekly game of football, time spent on a mountain bike, enjoying walks with his family and dog, and the occasional glass of wine.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 77
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – making a difference to young people’s lives
Ruth Marvel CEO, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Since the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) was founded in 1956, it has helped generations of young people develop the skills, resilience and self-belief they need to overcome whatever life throws at them – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh himself described it as a ‘do-it-yourself growing up kit’.
More than six decades later, our mission
When I became CEO two years ago, I was
remains the same: to offer young people
excited to join a charity that makes such
the opportunity to follow their passions,
a huge difference to young people’s lives.
discover new talents and gain transferable
What I didn’t expect was to find myself
skills to help them for years to come, and
steering us through an unprecedented
to make a positive contribution to their
community. To date, more than 6.7 million young people in the UK have done their
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit young
DofE, and we’re positive our impact will only
people hard. We know it has affected
continue to grow.
their mental health, education and job opportunities. Research from The Prince’s
Throughout the decades, the DofE has
Trust has shown that 25 per cent of 16–25
evolved and expanded to reflect young
year olds feel ‘unable to cope with life’,
people’s changing lives. In 1958, two years
increasing to almost 40% among those not
after our creation, the Award – originally
in education, employment or training.
only open to young men – was extended to girls. In 1988, The Duke of Edinburgh’s
But these headlines are only part of the
International Award was established to
story. Time and again through the DofE’s
bring the DofE to more young people
history, young people have shown that,
globally. The International Award is now
when we give them the right tools, there
offered in 130 countries.
are no limits to what they can overcome. And the pandemic is no exception.
In 2020, a quarter of young people who completed their award faced marginalisation or barriers to participating including financial hardship or social exclusion, or required specialist support to do their DofE, such as young offenders or young people with additional needs. It is times like these when the unique benefits of non-formal education
Sixty-five years after our foundation, the
opportunities like the DofE come to the
DofE is run all over the UK, in schools, youth
fore. It is vital that education providers
clubs. prisons, hospitals, sports clubs and
ensure students have access to the co-
fostering agencies. Our vision is a UK where
curricular learning and activities that can
every young person feels ready to step up
be a critical part of their recovery, both
to the challenges life throws at them. That’s
educationally and socially.
why we’re aiming to reach one million more young people in the UK over the next five
The DofE gives young people skills and
years – a fitting legacy for our patron, the
experiences they cannot get in a classroom
Duke of Edinburgh, whose vision helped
– an opportunity to excel and achieve
change millions of lives.
regardless of their interests, background or abilities. They can choose their own
And we’re working to tailor and expand
challenges, follow their passions and
DofE programmes, to make sure we appeal
discover new skills. It provides a chance to
to and are accessible to even more young
escape, have fun and make friends for life.
people and we continue to evolve to reflect their changing interests and lives. This year
There is clear evidence that co-
we added esports to the Skills section – an
curricular learning boosts academic
activity that’s shown to develop crucial life
achievement, improves wellbeing and
skills like strategic thinking, leadership and
contributes to young people succeeding
in employment. We know from asking our participants that the DofE gives
Those first Award holders in 1956 could
young people transferable skills such
not have dreamt of doing esports for
as teamwork, communication and
their DofE – or updating their progress
time management and develops their
on the go with the DofE smartphone app,
confidence and resilience. The DofE
as today’s participants do. But they would
remains a highly respected and widely
still recognise the heart of the DofE – a
recognised mark of achievement that
‘do-it-yourself growing-up kit’ that can help
can help a young person stand out to
young people get the most out of their
employers. We know employers see so-
lives, whoever they are and whatever they
called ‘soft skills’ as equal to, or more
choose to do.
important than, academic achievements. In the UK, more than 100 top employers,
For more information about The Duke of
including British Gas, Google, ITV and
Edinburgh’s Award go to DofE.org/run,
Burberry, endorsed the skills and attributes
email info@DofE.org or call
young people develop from their DofE.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 79
Since joining The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in 2019, Ruth Marvel has developed a strategy which aims to reach out to more young people and ensured they have had the support of the DofE during lockdown. The launch of DofE With a Difference has meant hundreds of thousands of young people could continue their DofE in the face of a pandemic. The introduction of the Resilience Fund also supported thousands of young people to start their DofE despite economic hardship. Before becoming the CEO at the DofE, Ruth was Acting CEO at Girlguiding and before that she was Director of Strategy and Innovation at the disability charity Scope. Ruth spent most of her early career in advocacy, research and public policy roles and she has successfully campaigned for comprehensive disability and human rights and greater investment in social care for disabled people. She has developed one of the sector’s first theories of change, set up an innovation unit, and helped design new ways to measure the social impact of charities. Ruth is passionate about social justice and she has a particular interest in advancing opportunities for young people, social innovation and the power of design thinking to solve social problems. Ruth is a Trustee of GoodGym, and a Fellow of the Clore Social Leadership Programme. She lives in London with her partner Mary and their three children.
Learning modern foreign languages at a boarding school Since its removal from the core GCSE curriculum in 2004, the number of pupils in the UK taking GCSE languages has been in decline. According to a recent survey published by the European Commission, just 38 per cent of people in the UK can speak one foreign language, well below the European Union average of 56 per cent. With A-level courses in some schools becoming unsustainable and university language courses closing, it could be said that the future of modern foreign languages in schools looks bleak. However, the benefits of learning a foreign language are plentiful. As well as the economic benefits of learning languages in terms of improved trading between countries worldwide, languages help us to meet new people, learn new skills and expand career opportunities and they make foreign travel easier. Schools therefore have a responsibility to ensure pupils understand the advantages of studying a foreign language.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 81
Rachel Rees Deputy Head Pastoral, Monmouth School for Girls
In a boarding community where diversity is valued and different cultural backgrounds are celebrated, the study of modern foreign languages is more important than ever. It is important to ensure that pupils receive a broad linguist diet by choosing a linguistic focus and rationale upon which to base the curriculum. In UK schools, this focus is very often on Europe, with French, German and Spanish on the curriculum (although many independent schools also offer Russian, Mandarin, Arabic or Japanese). The aim is to equip pupils with a basic understanding and knowledge of the two main language systems of Europe – the Romance languages of the south and the Germanic languages of the north. It is hoped that having such a rationale will enable pupils to have a positive, enjoyable and informative experience of modern
Germany and Spain were missing from
Oxford German Olympiad is another
language teaching and encourage an
the co-curricular programme with the
popular competition that gives students
awareness of the communities at large,
uncertainty of foreign travel and the
the opportunity to extend their subject
around the world, which share the target
restrictions imposed by the COVID-19
knowledge and compete against other like-
languages and cultures. French is still the
pandemic, but schools still took part
minded linguists at a national level. These
most commonly taught language in English
in online programmes and activities.
opportunities enrich students and build
secondary schools, although over the
At Monmouth School for Girls, Year 9
confidence, giving them the chance to use
last 20 years, there has been a decline in
pupils took part in an online exchange
their language in creative and imaginative
numbers taking French and German with a
programme with a German school where
significant rise in Spanish.
they shared video podcasts to talk about
CELEBRATING CULTURE AND HISTORY Language learning celebrates the cultural traditions and history of the target language while learning about the lifestyle and issues associated with young people today. In modern foreign language departments throughout the UK, the emphasis should be on learning that extends beyond the classroom to allow full engagement and ultimately a love of the language, the country, its people and its culture. This can be achieved in a number of ways.
cultural differences involving the Christmas
Work experience abroad is also a fantastic
addition to any CV and a great way to build confidence, learn new skills and improve
It is important to enthuse and inspire
communicating in the target language. It
pupils by offering a stimulating learning
is something that certainly benefited me
environment within the classroom.
as a sixth-form student and cemented
Competitions are also a great way to
my desire to follow a career in modern
get pupils involved with language. From
languages. Taking part in such initiatives
poetry recitations and Christmas card
also develops vocabulary and a firm grasp
designing to songs and inter-schools
of grammar, enabling pupils to achieve
debating competitions, there are no
their potential in external examinations.
limits to what schools can offer pupils in language activities outside the classroom.
I am always amazed by the creativity of
The Dresden Scholarship programme is
pupils when coming up with ideas to
an excellent initiative, where selected Year
promote languages. There is nothing
Visits or exchange programmes provide
13 students are sent to the University
more satisfying than seeing pupils getting
students with the opportunity to immerse
of Dresden to follow an academic
enthused and excited by something for
themselves in the language and culture of
programme, while living and immersing
which you share a mutual love.
a country. Sadly, annual trips to France,
themselves in student life in the city. The
Here at Monmouth School for Girls, with the Year 9 German Christmas Market trips cancelled, pupils recreated the markets in our own school corridors and ran the stalls themselves, with proceeds going to charity. For European Day of Languages pupils and staff who were fluent in a second language offered a ‘blind date’ of taster lessons to promote their own language. To the delight of all those who participated, pupils interested in learning a new language were randomly allocated lessons in Turkish, Afrikaans, Arabic, Japanese and Hindu, to name but a few of the options on offer. Pupils should be taught the benefit of language learning from an early age. They need to know that all languages are valuable. The acquisition of any language can expand linguistic capability, enhance employability, enrich cultural understanding and provide a valuable resource which helps to overcome communication barriers.
Rachel Rees is Deputy Head Pastoral at Monmouth School for Girls having previously held the post of Director of Sixth Form. Before this, she taught at Langley Park School for Boys in Beckenham and The Ravensbourne School in Bromley. She has 21 years’ experience teaching modern foreign languages throughout the key stages in both state and independent schools. She is completing a MEd in Educational Leadership and Management at Buckingham University.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 83
Find your future Find your Downe House Family-friendly boarding with exceptional pastoral care Outstanding education and extra-curricular provision A beautiful 110 acre woodland campus in Berkshire A world of opportunties for your daughter
Open Days and individual tours available firstname.lastname@example.org | 01635 204701
“We found friends for life.” - Dhyaana & Georgia
An outstanding independent boarding school for girls aged 11 to 18 years
89% Grades 9-7 GCSE
98% Grades A*-B A Level
94% First-Choice University
26% STEM at University
BSA September 2022 125mm x 185mm.indd 1
A coeducational boarding and day school set in beautiful grounds in rural Staaordshire. Ages 4-18 DISCOVER MORE AT DENSTONECOLLEGE.ORG BSA_Guide_85x125_Sept22.indd 1
Twenty-first century learning – embracing technology to drive a culture of learning
Louise Orton Senior Deputy Head (Academic), Sherborne Girls Sherborne Girls sets out to nurture
Having committed fully in 2019 to
to individual needs and allowed teachers
and inspire a vibrant community of
developing our digital strategy, all our
and pupils to interact with each other
fulfilled, inquisitive and confident
teachers were provided with a Microsoft
more effectively. It facilitated improved
young women who are thoroughly
pen-enabled device, and a training
teacher feedback, quality use of prep
prepared to enter higher education
company spent a week at the school
time, individual organisation, efficient use
and embark on their future lives,
helping every teacher enhance their
of class time, and immediate access to
with a desire to make a difference.
teaching through the use of Microsoft
resources to add interest and experiences
A fundamental part of our vision
OneNote and Teams and pen-enabled
to classroom teaching.
and aim to develop the future
technology. We appointed two digital
generation of twenty-first century
leaders, supported by eight digital
When we went into the first lockdown in
women is ensuring every pupil is
champions, to drive the digital strategy
March 2020, the school was, therefore,
comfortable and confident with
forward, and we implemented regular
well placed and prepared for the
digital technology, appreciating its
staff training sessions and one-to-one
transition from traditional to remote
importance and the opportunities it
workshops with IT professionals.
learning. Teachers and pupils felt
brings. The development of the use
comfortable and confident with the shift
of technology is fully aligned with
The move to pen-enabled devices and
and we were pleased with the positive
our five core values of curiosity,
collaborative software changed the
feedback we received from parents, pupils
courage, compassion, adaptability
impact of the education offered and at
the same time made it more adaptable
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 85
support. Training sessions have become
New ways of living and working have made
departmental priorities delivered at a team
it even more important for staff and pupils
or individual level.
to develop their skills of communication, collaboration and teamwork. We have
IMPROVING AND TRANSFORMING LEARNING With pupils back at school, we continued to embrace technology to drive and develop teaching and learning. A learning technologist was appointed to help us develop and refine our digital offering further, inspire staff in the use of technology and investigate new ways in which technology can be used to improve and transform learning.
Numerous areas of common ground were
discovered new ways to connect, share
agreed across departments. For example,
ideas and show support, our horizons have
on a practical level, the use of OneNote and
been broadened and we have engaged with
Teams has been optimised for assignment-
wider and more geographically dispersed
setting and feedback flow. We also
audiences. As such, our community has
addressed the challenges of collecting and
developed a deeper understanding and
storing pupil-made videos, an issue which
political, social and environmental empathy.
had been flagged by teachers in several
Our digital strategy has underpinned all
practical subject areas.
these developments and continues to be a priority as we embrace technology to drive
From a pedagogical perspective, there assessment tools for engaging pupils during live, blended or remote teaching. Pupils are encouraged to be more active participants in the feedback process, responding
We set out to shift the conversation
to personalised comments, which the
from the digital champions to heads of
teacher annotates while recording spoken
department who best understand the
explanations. We are also exploring
individual strengths and needs of their
bespoke projects such as mixed reality in
team. A whole-staff survey provided further
biology, collaborative creative writing in
clarity on individual use of technology,
English and using the model of a head to
comfort level and skill gaps, which in turn
create binaural soundscapes in drama.
helped identify and prioritise appropriate
a culture of learning.
was interest in low- or no-prep formative Louise Orton is Senior Deputy Head (Academic) at Sherborne Girls, responsible for the school’s academic life and provision. She started her teaching career as a mathematics teacher at Queen Anne’s Caversham, where she became Head of Fourth Forms. She spent a short time at Wycombe High, Wycombe Abbey and the British School of Brussels before joining Sherborne Girls. Louise is driven by the challenge of creating an innovative curriculum promoting exploration and investigation in teaching and learning and seeking opportunities to equip pupils for life in the twenty-first century.
The importance of creativity The arts are often considered the poor relation to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, which are seen as vital skills in a modern economy. Indeed, some people regard the arts as a soft option. However, there is now a growing recognition of a critical need for creative thinking and visual skills within the STEM mix, and a new acronym STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Arts and Maths) is now preferred by educationalists. This development is exciting and has great potential to attract a whole new cohort of pupils who might otherwise disengage from STEM subjects. Once art and design technology is blended in with the traditional STEM subjects, a more imaginative and innovative picture emerges. STEAM has already gathered significant momentum
Victoria Rose Director of Art, Dauntsey’s
in the US, spearheaded by academics and students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), who developed a curriculum which brought together the five STEAM subjects. Their goal was to educate the
and certainly the UK has a world-class
world of academia about the importance
reputation for art and design, going back
of incorporating creative thinking and visual
centuries. But how many people have heard
learning in the classroom.
of British designer Sir Jonathan Ive? He was Chief Design Officer of Apple and he
This is not a new concept – think of the
designed the iPhone, iPad and MacBook.
Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci,
Without his design genius, Apple would
who was a master not only of art but also
essentially be an engineering company.
scientific invention. Or more recently, the
Creativity is the magic ingredient that turned
Industrial Revolution in Great Britain when
Apple into the multi-billion dollar business
art, science and engineering were close and
that it is today. Giants like Tesler, Apple and
Google frequently recruit individuals who
CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION Creativity and imagination can set you apart in a world where technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are taking over many roles. Indeed, few jobs in the creative industries are at risk of automation. The iterative process involved in studying creative subjects leads pupils to constantly question their work and want to improve or add and try new approaches; a valuable skill in the workplace – and in life.
have a creative rather than technical
A report published in 2019 by the Durham
The Design Council argues that good design
background. They are hired for their design
Commission on Creativity and Education
capability can boost the UK’s competitiveness
talent, innovation and problem-solving skills.
agreed that creativity is the driver of
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 87
Victoria Rose held a range of roles in the creative industry and education before she became Director of Art at Dauntsey’s. She began her career as an art director in an advertising agency, where she gained awards for advertising effectiveness and creativity. She then began her own business as a freelance artist, illustrator and designer. She has exhibited at numerous venues and as a member of the Association of Illustrators she was also selected for the Best of British Illustration awards three years in a row. Victoria has also lectured on an Art and Design Foundation course. She uses this experience at Dauntsey’s to help pupils discover their artistic talents and understand how these talents are relevant to careers in the creative industry.
economic growth and innovation, stating that
the most watched TED talks of all time the
students to take thoughtful risks, engage
our national economy has been boosted
late educationalist Sir Ken Robinson argued
in experiential learning, persist in problem-
by the success of the creative industries in
that creativity is as important as literacy and
solving, embrace collaboration and work
the past ten years. Such success will only
should be given equal status. He defined
through the creative process in order to
increase, the report continues, as long as
creativity as ‘the process of having original
produce innovative results. These are skills
we can ensure that young people are given
ideas that have value’.
for the world of work beyond the classroom and further education. These are skills for
the opportunity to experience and develop skills in art, drama, music, design, craft and
No longer should Art A level be seen as an
digital awareness – the foundation of the
easy option. Creative subjects encourage
creative industries. The report concludes that creativity is now one of the most sought after clusters of skills for all employers. Encouraging young people from as early an age as possible to engage in art and design and value these subjects as much as maths and other subjects, is a critical first step in establishing a STEAM culture in the UK. In doing so we will develop in pupils the skills of problem-solving, independent thinking, planning, development, organisation, communication and presentation. Many schools understand the opportunity offered by these subjects but there needs to be a greater investment in creativity in all schools, in all parts of the country. In one of
Teaching empathy Damian Todres Director of Drama and Head of the Creative Arts Faculty, Wells Cathedral School
Consider the experience of being
capacities that will empower them to
a boarder in the twenty-first
thrive in an unknowable future. And
century – tentatively exploring ‘who
here we come to an old idea. Aristotle’s
I am’ through the glaring lens of
concept of phronesis or ‘practical
relentless social media feeds, with
wisdom’ is an intelligence gathered
the emotional burdens of ‘always
from practical action and creativity that
on’ connectivity, commentary and
ultimately informs a person how to ‘be’
unprecedented self-comparison to
in the world. Concerned with not only
peers. Add to this the worries of
the ‘head’ (what to know) but crucially
climate change, political upheaval
also with the ‘hand’ (how to act) as well
and the arrival of a game-changing
as the ‘heart’ (how to feel), Aristotle
global pandemic. Such psychological
emphasised the significance of not only
pressures are compounded by the
‘what to know’ but also ‘how to know’.
rapid pace of technological change, where more than half of children entering primary school today will end up working in completely new jobs that don’t yet exist. How can our children and young people be better prepared to cope in such a world? Drama may hold the key. An indication of this direction of travel can be seen in a recent World Economic Forum report The Future of Jobs 2020 (https://www. weforum.org/reports/the-future-ofjobs-report-2020). The report notes that employers are prioritising creativity and emotional intelligence. These more ‘human’ skills are seen to balance the trend towards artificial intelligence and machine learning. As a result of the cultural and employment challenges facing our young learners today we may need to re-evaluate the kinds of knowledge and
EMPATHIC THINKING So how do we provide opportunities to facilitate practical wisdom and emotional intelligence in our schools? I believe that teaching and learning drama is a compelling answer. By embodying characters from other times and places, drama uses the universality of human experience to uncover shared emotional and personal connections. Drama can develop perspectives between ‘self’ and ‘other’ through its inherently social and collaborative methods of working, encouraging empathic thinking and behaviour. During the iterative process of creating a piece of drama, creativity and imagination help to provide a transformative space of possibility that supports the development of practical wisdom, kindness, healing and understanding – qualities that transfer readily to the wider life of the pupil.
With its consideration of multiple perspectives, drama explicitly teaches what many consider to be one of the most urgent capacities in education: empathy. The word ‘empathy’ originates from the German philosophical term Einfühlung (‘feeling into’) and the Greek root pathos, which translates as ‘emotion, suffering and pity’. It is now understood to mean the ability to move beyond ourselves in order to understand the feelings and experiences of others. A facility to empathise enables the skills of collaboration, complex problemsolving and cognitive flexibility needed to negotiate life in a busy boarding school, as well as developing other critical emotional intelligences necessary for adulthood in the twenty-first century.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 89
The late educationalist Ken Robinson made an urgent call for empathy as the next educational disruptor – he believed that many of the problems children face are rooted in failures of empathy. The ability to ‘feel into’ can facilitate the development of a child or young person experiencing challenges into an agile, resourceful and resilient adult. As a drama teacher, this concern with practical wisdom and empathy has led me to pursue my own research focusing on dramaturgical strategies that enable pupils to develop and deepen their foundational human capacity to imagine the world of another; a competency that may help them to adapt and thrive together in the modern world of an unknowable future. Children and young people face an unprecedented scale of challenge and by refining our approach to not only ‘what’ kind of knowledge is useful but more importantly, ‘how’ to know it, I believe we are giving them every chance to succeed in whatever landscape they find themselves in after their time with us. They deserve nothing less.
Damian Todres is Director of Drama and Head of the Creative Arts Faculty at Wells Cathedral School, winner of Independent School of the Year 2020 in the Performing Arts category. This article is drawn from his final University of Oxford MSc dissertation entitled ‘Imagining the Other’, which investigated how educators can facilitate and explicitly teach empathy.
Recognising the physical and mental value of sport Rob Kift Director of Sport, Hurst College
The physical and mental wellbeing
continue to develop when they leave
to become élite performers. And sport
of pupils is central to a boarding
school. Hurst also offers a unique
for all not only includes a school’s
school’s sports offering. Sport is a
player welfare programme, with
own pupils but also other schools and
crucial part of boarding school life.
qualified physiotherapists who triage
organisations in the local community.
It provides a healthy and active
and monitor injuries and support
With excellent facilities and a
lifestyle, promotes good physical and
rehabilitation, as well as providing
sustained programme of development,
mental wellbeing, teaches teamwork
pitch-side cover on match days. Pupils
many boarding schools have the
and leadership skills, and develops
also benefit from clinic time and
capacity to host major sporting events.
resilience, determination and many
rehabilitation during the week. This
For example, Hurst created the Sussex
other important life skills.
forms part of the college’s wellbeing
Independent School Diamond League
programme which includes strength
Athletics Programme, one of many
All independent schools aim to create
and conditioning, sports analysis and
community initiatives which have
an activity diet that engages all pupils
proved popular. The college has also forged strong links with maintained
in an enjoyable, challenging and meaningful way, through traditional team sports, individual sports and outdoor pursuits – encouraging them to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle. Through these activities pupils learn important life skills and often choose at least one sport they wish to
SPORT FOR ALL Another key element for a boarding school is the importance of sport for all. All pupils should be given equal opportunities to be involved in sport – pupils who simply want to participate just as much as pupils who are or aim
schools by hosting development days, as well as being a hub for Surrey Storm Netball South and Sussex County Cricket academies, a feeder for the Harlequins Rugby Development Programme and the base for Sussex Hockey. As with many boarding
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 91
schools, Hurst also organises and plays host to regional and national competitions and events in a variety of sports. The driving force behind a high-quality school sports programme is successful collaboration with pupils and parents as well as a constant desire to improve. Schools not only strive to establish a reputation for the quality, breadth and inclusivity of their sporting provision, but also for the passion and commitment of their staff who aim to ensure that each pupil develops a lifelong love of sport and physical activity. Hurst’s excellent staff coaching team is supported by professional coaches, who are all experts in their fields. With the unprecedented circumstances
Our autumn term began with athletics,
Hurst won the Sporting Achievement award
surrounding COVID-19 lockdown, many
cross-country events and cricket – which
in the Independent Schools of the Year
school sports departments responded to
took place throughout the winter months.
2020 Awards for our focus on recognising
the unique challenge of remote learning
We met the requirement for pupils to be
the physical and mental value of sport
by implementing alternative ways of
in year group bubbles by introducing some
and sharing the benefits with the wider
engagement to deliver a comprehensive
temporary facilities, such as a golf driving
community, including the children of key
programme, including onsite options for
range and a marquee to house aerobics
workers during lockdown.
children of key workers. This creative and
and spin classes. Although matches against
dynamic approach continued when pupils
other schools were suspended, more house
returned in September 2020 for the new
competitions and intramural fixtures were
academic year. For obvious reasons schools
introduced as an alternative and most
made it a priority for pupils to be outside
of these took place during the Saturday
in the fresh air as much as possible and
programme of sport, when external fixtures
this challenged sports departments to be
are normally played.
inventive with the options they offered, using facilities to their best advantage.
Rob Kift has been Director of Sport at Hurst College since 1995 and is also President of the Common Room. Rob joined the college in 1990 as Assistant Director of Sport. He was the first Head of Academic PE and a Housemaster for five years.
The importance of pastoral care
Andrew Russell Headmaster, St David’s College
Since it was established in 1965,
Modern families want their children to be
Genuinely exceptional pastoral care is
St David’s College has always placed
educated in a nurturing environment where
constant and permeates throughout a
enormous value in focusing on the
they can learn in a family atmosphere.
pupil’s educational experience. Pastoral
individual and supporting each pupil to
Matrons traditionally had an important part
care can be in the classroom, part of
realise the potential of their own gifts –
to play in the pastoral structure of boarding
co-curricular activities, on outdoor education
giving them the freedom to flourish.
schools and although the role – and often the
expeditions or during preparations for a
title – has changed in many schools, there
school production or concert. Continued
When parents are looking for the right
remains a need for someone outside the
support and guidance prepares pupils for
boarding school for their family, three of the
academic staff to provide this pastoral role.
the world after they leave school. Providing
most important questions they usually have
How this is achieved varies from school to
opportunities to grow, work as a team,
are: Where will my child sleep? What will they
develop resilience and leadership skills, and most importantly the will to never give up, will
eat? Who will support them? In the past, support may have been academically focused but now more than ever there is a need for pastoral support. Pastoral care is a school commitment to the wellbeing of every pupil and is always at its best when the pupils are at the centre of everything the school does. Pastoral
TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION Two-way communication between pastoral staff/houseparents and pupils is key. Pupils must feel comfortable enough to go to staff with any worries or concerns. Staff strive to get to know their pupils as well as possible and make themselves available to them – in the case of houseparents, this can be 24/7.
help to carry each pupil throughout their life. When every child feels safe in the knowledge that they are a valued member of the community, their true potential can be discovered, nurtured and given the freedom to flourish.
care programmes consider many different elements of a pupil’s life in the school.
Feedback from pupils about their thoughts on
Physical activity, social inclusion, emotional
pastoral care provision is critical. They are the
support and intellectual development are
ones who are experiencing the care and their
all key to the happiness of any child in an
feelings will be important in making sure the
independent school. Happy, content children
support provides exactly what they need. This
with a positive attitude are more likely to
is why an open dialogue between pupils and
approach their studies with focus and a
staff is so important.
willingness to learn.
Andrew Russell became Headmaster of St David’s College in 2017. After studying accounting and economics at the University of Southampton, Andrew was an accountant before becoming a teacher. He joined St David’s 29 years ago and during that time he has been Head of Maths, Head of Careers, Tryfan Housemaster, Assistant Head and Deputy Head. He was drawn to St David’s because it combines his passions – teaching and being in the outdoors.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 93
GDST Boarding in Bath. Pioneering girls’ education. Nursery | Prep | Senior | Sixth Form
Girls making their mark Royal High School Bath @RoyalHighBath www.royalhighbath.gdst.net
Full, weekly and flexible boarding options Find out more
Boarding in the North of England
Jeremy Walker Head Master, St Peter’s School, York
The North of England is understandably
of history and culture along with modern
Minster to museums, ancient city walls, art
a popular choice for boarders and their
dynamism. York is a popular and dynamic
galleries and an exciting range of festivals
families. With vibrant cities, stunning
hub with a sense of history around every
and events throughout the year.
coastlines and spectacular landscapes,
corner, and with large cosmopolitan cities
the North attracts boarders from
nearby such as Leeds and Newcastle and
St Peter’s combines city living with outdoor
across the UK and beyond. This area
the beauty of Durham, there is something
space for children to grow and thrive.
of the UK is renowned for its friendly
here for everyone.
Despite being just five minutes’ walk away
communities, and a warm welcome awaits boarders who choose to call the North of England their home. There is a range of boarding options available to suit the needs of each individual child. Whether you are looking for city-centre vibrancy or rural tranquillity, you will find the perfect setting for your child in the North of England. Its cities offer an ideal blend
from the centre of York, boarders can also
HISTORIC CITY OF YORK At St Peter’s School, pupils are fortunate to have the historic city of York on their doorstep. York is frequently voted as one of the best places to live in the UK and it has a rich history with the city as we now know it dating back to the Roman period. It is the perfect place for boarders to explore on weekends, from the magnificent York
enjoy the freedom offered by the school’s 50-acre campus on the banks of the River Ouse. Beyond the cities, the North of England also offers many opportunities for adventure and exploration. From Northumberland to East Yorkshire, the stunning coastline is popular with schools as a destination for educational
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 95
Our northern schools have some of the most successful school sports teams in the country.
visits. Whitby is especially popular and pupils can regularly be found combing the coast at Flamborough Head on geography field trips. Northern England is also home to several Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and three National Parks: the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and the Lake District National Park, which has recently been added to the list of UNESCO
TRANSPORT CONNECTIONS The North of England enjoys access to several international airports including Manchester, Leeds, Doncaster and Newcastle, and many schools are also well connected to London by train. York is under 2 hours by train from London while Newcastle is 3½ hours by train from London, making these cities easily accessible for UK and international boarders.
World Heritage Sites. Whether boarders are studying in cities or in the countryside, these
With so much to offer, it is hardly surprising
stunning landscapes are easily accessible on
that places at boarding schools in the
North of England have become increasingly attractive in recent years and with a large
Our northern schools have some of the
military presence it is a popular area for
most successful school sports teams in the
country, and offer music, art and drama to the highest standard plus CCF, The
Founded in 627 AD, St Peter’s School is
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and a wide
the third oldest school in the country.
range of activities and clubs. Combined
It was named The Sunday Times North
with exemplary pastoral care, this means
Independent School of the Year in 2019 and
pupils can experience absolutely everything
Tes Independent School of the Year 2021.
on offer at school and still have time to relax and make lifelong friendships in their boarding houses.
Jeremy Walker has been Head Master at St Peter’s since 2019. He spent his school days as a full boarder and was educated at Sherborne School and Oxford University. Previous roles have included Principal of King’s School Rochester, Headmaster of Berkhamsted Sixth and Housemaster and Head of RS and Theory of Knowledge at Ardingly College.
Boarding at sixth-form colleges Independent boarding schools have a long history of creating well-rounded pupils with excellent results. Most pupils beginning an A-level course or an International Foundation Programme are striving to gain the best possible grades and complete a challenging programme of academic study, and also yearning to exercise their independence. In many cases these two can act in competition with one another, with young people rushing to celebrate their freedom without the life skills and experience they need to manage this.
Dr Julian Davies Principal, Abbey College, Cambridge
At an independent sixth-form college the
or advise pupils with their assignments
new things helps to develop a pupil’s
journey to independence is supported and
or respond to academic needs, ensures
resilience and confidence and also allows
skills are introduced and practised in a safe
that class time can be more productive.
for the introduction and progression of
environment, while academic progression
Pupils can be taught study skills and then
skills. As young adults, pupils are also
is monitored and the whole pupil nurtured
the process can be actively monitored
encouraged to help organise, promote
and developed. The outcome is a resilient
and developed so that the end result is
and manage activities, giving them a real
and independent learner prepared to take
a pupil who can work efficiently and with
sense of ownership and an opportunity
the next step in life on to university or a
confidence. Instilling a strong work ethic in
to engage in the passions they have
chosen career path.
all pupils is important, but teaching them
outside the classroom. Time spent in these
to overcome setbacks and to persevere is
co-curricular activities is time well spent – it
also paramount to their future success.
ensures pupils enjoy their time in the sixth
Considering the most obvious key requirement for academic progression, the attainment of outstanding academic results, boarding provides an excellent ‘outof-hours’ support system for learning. Once in the sixth form most pupils are trusted to manage their workload accordingly, but having subject specialists on hand to help
form, and helps to develop their ability to
CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES The very nature of boarding allows for many more opportunities for co-curricular activities. Introducing pupils to a variety of activities ensures they are inspired and open to new experiences and skills. Trying
manage their work and life balance so the ‘whole child’ can flourish. At Abbey College Cambridge we have more than 50 clubs and an extensive programme of trips and activities: pupils can complete first-aid training, visit places of interest across the
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 97
country, learn an instrument, join the drama group, learn circus skills or origami – there is something for everyone. Boarding at a sixth-form college gives pupils the opportunity and challenge they need to develop a broader spectrum of life skills. Washing their clothes, making good dietary choices, looking after their health (physical and mental), managing their workload and living in a communal setting are just a few examples of the skills that prepare them for adulthood and independent living.
PUPILS FROM AROUND THE WORLD Boarding at an independent sixth-form college means living with a host of other pupils from around the world. This in itself is an important experience and ensures pupils become comfortable with cultures, languages and religions that are different from their own. At Abbey College Cambridge we have pupils from 48 nationalities. Each nationality is recognised and celebrated while the whole community is brought together through the shared love of learning and the involvement in co-curricular interests.
to compromise and empathise. It also
confidence to deal with new situations and
requires responsibility and commitment,
can adapt to life at university successfully
and teaches young people how to establish
because strong foundations have been put
equality while recognising differences
and celebrating them. Pupils can learn to communicate at the highest level, making lifelong friendships and establishing international contacts for the future. The time pupils spend at an independent sixth-form college is very special. It bridges the gap between school and university, childhood and adulthood. Pupils enjoy the experience while receiving the best
Living in a community requires many
possible training in how to navigate
skills and abilities such as being able
life independently. They gain the inner
Dr Julian Davies was awarded a PhD for his thesis on the biological response to climate change in Antarctica and a holds a BSc in Applied Biology. He began his career as an industrial scientist before joining the teaching profession. On joining Abbey College, Julian introduced boarding as an option for pupils and led the relocation of the college to a purpose-built boarding campus in Cambridge. The college now has more than 400 international boarding pupils living and studying in the campus.
BSA Certified Agent and Guardian schemes Caroline Nixon, International and Membership Director, Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) and Director, British Association of Independent Schools with International Students, and Ammy Davies-Potter, Director of Guardianship and Inclusion, BSA
The BSA Certified Agent and Guardian schemes were launched just over a year ago. So far 54 agents and 44 guardians have signed up to the schemes, with more joining all the time. The training and certiﬁcation programmes for the schemes provide reassurance to families. Parents can be assured they are dealing with educational agents and guardians with the highest standards in terms of safeguarding, safer recruitment and training of staﬀ and host families, knowledge of the UK education system and careful liaison with schools. The schemes also provide a clear demonstration to BSA boarding schools of the quality and intention of the educational agents and guardians who reach certiﬁed status. Finding a suitable educational agent can be a time-consuming process for parents, but it is an absolutely vital one. Even when parents have a good knowledge of the UK education system, this may not be up to date and it is almost impossible for parents to have an informed overview of all the different schools available when trying to choose the one most suitable for their individual child. The BSA’s recent survey of Chinese parents showed that agents have a major influence when it
The BSA Certified Agent scheme is
emotionally and physically safe and
essentially doing parents’ due diligence,
there is good communication and
ensuring agents in the scheme
relationships between them and the
demonstrate a clear and current
adults looking after them. This is a
understanding of the UK education
vital aspect of a successful school
system and the different types of
schools, getting to know the child’s and the family’s needs, recommending
Parents can choose a BSA Certified
schools that are right for individual
Guardian with confidence, secure in the
children, and maintaining the highest
knowledge that the guardian has met
standards of integrity in placing and
the high standards required through a
supporting each child.
rigorous inspection process. Knowing
In terms of guardians, the survey of Chinese parents showed that 82 per cent highlighted the importance of having assurance around a guardian’s certification – and this is what the BSA Certified Guardian scheme provides. Similar to the criteria agents are required to meet, guardians must demonstrate the highest standards in terms of their interaction with schools, parents and pupils, showing they meet strict assurance requirements for all aspects of safeguarding.
comes to choosing a boarding school,
For international pupils, an educational
with 74 per cent relying on an agent’s
guardian who can provide high quality
recommendation. So it is important
support and guidance is invaluable.
to be sure an agent has integrity and
Pupils are much more likely to reach
knowledge of the school and family and
their full potential if they feel
this is what the scheme aims to do.
the guardian is committed to providing a high-quality service can really make a difference to their child’s school journey. For more information about the BSA Certified Agent scheme and a full list of Certified Agents, go to: https://www. boarding.org.uk/bsa-initiatives/bsacertified-agent-scheme/ There is also a list of Certified Agents in this Guide. For more information about the BSA Certified Guardian scheme and a full list of Certified Guardians, go to: https:// www.boarding.org.uk/bsa-initiatives/ bsa-certified-guardian-scheme/ There is also a list of Certified Guardians in this Guide.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / BOARDING AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL / 99
BSA certified guardians
BSA certified agents
Abby Plumb Education Guardian Service www.abbyplumbeducationguardian.com
JD Consultancy www.jdconsultant.co.uk
Global Education Tumulka (GET) www.sprachreise.com/schulberatung
Academic Families www.academicfamilies.com
Oxbridge Guardians oxbridgeguardians.co.uk
Abby Plumb Education Guardian Service www.abbyplumbeducationguardian.com
Golden Apple Tree www.ukjpg.com
Access UK Education www.access-edu.co.uk
Overseas Personal Development Services www.opds.co.uk
Academic Asia China Ltd www.academic-asia.co.uk
HKIES Overseas Education Centre www.hkies.com.hk
Alpha Guardians www.alphaguardians.co.uk
Redoor Education www.redoorguardianship.co.uk
Academic Families www.academicfamilies.com
i-Learner, Nebula Group Ltd www.i-learner.edu.hk
Amber Education www.amberedu.co.uk
Regent Guardians www.regentguardians.com
Intake Education intake.education
Belgravia Guardians www.bg-london.com
Robin Education www.robineduuk.com
Berkeley Guardians www.berkeleyguardians.com
Scottish Overseas Guardianship Association (SOGA) www.scottishoverseasguardianship.co.uk
Boarding Schools Ireland www.boardingschoolsireland.com Cambridge Guardian Angels www.cambridge-guardian-angels.com Carfax Guardians www.carfax-guardians.com Clarendon International Education www.clarendon.uk.com College Guardians www.collegeguardians.co.uk Connexcel www.connexcel.co.uk/guardianship Cotswold Guardians www.cotswold-guardians.co.uk Edinburgh Guardian Angels www.edinburghguardianangels.co.uk Education and Exchange in Europe www.edex.ie Elite Anglo-Chinese Services www.eliteacs.com English Country Guardians www.english-country-guardians.co.uk Gabbitas www.gabbitas.com Genesis Education Planning www.en.genesiseducation.co.uk Great British Guardians www.gbguardians.com Guardians International Support www.gis-uk.com High Schools International www.hsinet.org Host-Link www.hostlinkuk.com Hyde Global Education www.hydeglobaleducation.com International Student Guardianship Ireland (ISGI) www.guardianshipireland.ie IQ Consultancy www.iqconsultancy.ru
Anglo International Student Centre www.sino-uk.org/school ApplyEasyPro www.aepcn.cn
See World www.seeworldltd.com
Aston Education www.aston.edu.hk
St George’s Guardians www.stg-guardians.co.uk
Baltic Council for International Education www.balticcouncil.org/en/sakums
Study Links www.studylinks.com
Barbara Glasmacher Internationale Schulberatung www.glasmacher.de
The Guardian Family Network www.guardianfamilynetwork.com Trusted Guardianship www.trustedguardianship.co.uk UK Guardians www.ukguardians.co.uk UKGuardianship www.ukguardianship.com UK Tuition www.uk-tuition.com UM Education www.umeducation.com Ying Lang Guardian, Glamour Edu Ltd www.glamouredu.com
BeGo Education www.begoedu.com/#page2 Better School! Internatsberatung www.betterschool.de Beyond Education www.beyondeducation.es Blue Dot Education bluedoteducation.info BOSSS UK www.bosssuk.co.uk Britannia StudyLink www.britannia-study.com British United Education Services www.britishunited.net/en/about-us Carfax Consultants www.carfax-consultants.com Chamberlain Educational Services www.chamberlain-edu.com/traditional/index. html Cherry Education Consultancy www.ukcec.com Connexcel www.connexcel.co.uk Convoy Education www.convoyedu.com/h-col-116.html Crest Education www.cresteducation.co.uk Dickinson School Consulting www.dickinsonboardingschools.com EduExcellence Consulting Services www.eduexcellence.uk Edukatus www.edukatus.co.uk Genesis Education Planning www.en.genesiseducation.co.uk
Intergreat Education Group www.intergreat.com IQ ITEC www.itecgroup.ru/partners IQ Consultancy www.iqconsultancy.ru J3 Group Ltd www.j3education.com JD Consultancy www.jdconsultant.co.uk Kulturwerke Deutschland Sprachreisen https://www.kulturwerke-deutschland.de Mark Brooks Education www.markbrookseducation.com Meridian Group www.meridian.lv/sakums Overseas Personal Development Services www.opds.co.uk Panoba Ltd www.panoba.co.uk Petra Heinemann Internationale Schulberatung heinemann-schulberatung.de Prime UK Education www.primeukedu.co.uk QED Education Group www.qededucationgroup.com Rise Smart Overseas Education Centre www.risesmart.com.hk Sarah Jochums Internatsberatung www.sarah-jochums.de School Britannia www.schoolbritannia.fr Sino-UK Arts & Cultural Bridge www.sino-uk.org The Independent Education Consultants www.independenteducationconsultants.co.uk UK Academics & Guardianship (UKAG) www.ukag.co.uk/welcom-to-ukag UK Education Guide Ltd www.ukeducationguide.com UK Tuition and Services www.uk-tuition.com Watanabe Office www.woffice.jp
The advantages of starting boarding in a prep school Boarding is very much alive and kicking in IAPS member schools. Of the quarter of a million pupils who are educated in the 607 UK member schools, about 8 per cent are classified as boarders. However, 40 per cent of IAPS members offer some form of boarding. More than half of those who board are described
Christopher King Chief Executive, Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS)
as ‘flexible’ boarders and about 10 per cent are weekly boarders. The number of prep school boarders has largely returned to pre-pandemic numbers although as a result of the pandemic there has been a decline in schools that have traditionally recruited full-time
when this is true but the week by week,
A night or two boarding can make accessing
term by term drivers of this approach are
these things so much easier for the pupil
rooted in something more solid.
and take the pressure off the family. The importance of taking pressure off the family
IAPS schools are characterised, of course,
is not to be underestimated. For all the talk
by their holistic educational offer – a full-on,
about family-friendly policies, very often
extended day stocked up with co-curricular
the hours parents are required to work are
What conclusion can we draw from all
activities. In order to access such activities
anything but friendly.
this? A very significant number of IAPS
it can make very good sense to stay on at
schools find their parents and prospective
school rather than have to travel home late
parents value the opportunity to take up
in the day, fall into bed, only to get up again
the flexibility our schools have built into
the next morning. When the daylight hours
their offer. The lazy characterisation is
stretch out and sporting events run into the
that signing their child up for a few days
evening the ability to board allows pupils to
of boarding every week releases parents
fully engage with such events. Rehearsals,
to pursue social activities of their own
concerts, inter-school debates and House
choosing. There may be some occasions
events can be scheduled for the evenings.
boarders in significant numbers from
A CARING AND FUN EXPERIENCE Boarding in IAPS schools is a caring and fun experience. No doubt regulatory changes have played their part in driving the improvements in boarding provision with regards to the physical environment. All our schools are very sensitive to the need for robust safeguarding procedures so each
child is cared for in a safe and nurturing environment. However, as good as the pastoral care undoubtedly is in an IAPS school that offers boarding, it is probably the fact that it is seen as great fun by the children which is why they want to board. Indeed ‘fun’ is probably the most often cited reason for children to board in IAPS schools’ websites. Boarding gives children the chance to fully immerse themselves in the life of the school, doing everything from night hikes to netball, cricket to campfires and all in the company of their friends. Joint experiences in the real, not the virtual, world, where they can share experiences which can be relived throughout their lives. What’s not to enjoy?
Christopher King is Chief Executive of IAPS. Before that he was Headmaster and Chief Executive of Leicester Grammar School Trust. He was Chairman of the Headmaster’s and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) in 2015–16 and, unusually, again in 2017–18. Christopher is a Director of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) board and a member of Leicester University Council.
With kind permission of Godstowe Preparatory School
With kind permission of Sherborne Preparatory School
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / PREPARATORY SCHOOLS / 101
The popularity of prep school
Dr Trevor Richards Head, All Hallows Preparatory School In today’s rapidly changing and
The key role of a preparatory school lies in
to boarding can be hard for parents too
demanding world, where our view of
the name – to prepare. For pupils planning
and an insight into day-to-day life, via an
life is distorted by social media and
on boarding for the next stage of their
active blog or social media, reassures them
expectations of our young people are
education, prep schools can give them a
their children are engaging with others and
high, our prep boarding schools offer
priceless opportunity to board in a familiar
immersing themselves in all that is on offer.
children an oasis into which they can
environment, surrounded by their friends.
A child who started flexi-boarding in Year 5
All prep boarding schools want their
and increased this to weekly or full boarding
pupils to be in a triangle of care (child–
With the jam-packed extra-curricular
by the end of Year 8 is likely to settle far
parent–boarding staff) and this means
programmes that are part and parcel of any
more quickly into a new school, taking full
fostering a close relationship between
school offering boarding at this younger
advantage of all that is on offer, than a
families and school. Acting in loco parentis
age, children can be children and throw
child who has had little or no experience of
at All Hallows means our staff value regular
their energy into activities, hobbies and
communications and meetings with parents. These allow us to deal with any questions or
interests in the company of their friends, perhaps discovering new passions along the
For new boarders, taster days and letters
concerns before they become an issue and
way. At times, our boarding schools may be
from future classmates help to make them
to ensure our parents have total confidence
likened to holiday camps but, with a routine
feel welcomed. Keeping in touch with their
in the school.
structure in place to complete any prep or
families is so easy with modern technology
homework, and without the need to travel to
and regular video calls allow parents to
Lifelong friendships are made through
and from school on a daily basis, there is still
feel at ease about their children, helping to
the shared experiences and challenges
plenty of time left for relaxation.
replicate those end-of-day chats in the car or
that come from living in a community.
around the kitchen table, even though they
At All Hallows, pupils grow and develop
may be miles away.
emotionally, learning social skills and
A generation or two ago, it was unusual for
supporting each other along the way. These
both parents to work, whereas today the opposite is true. Parents often have long
Although mobile phones and tablets help
skills will stand them in excellent stead as
days and overnight stays away from home.
with communication, extended use of these
they move on to face new challenges at their
It is no wonder therefore that the popularity
can be isolating and so access should be
senior schools and beyond as happy, well-
of flexi or weekly boarding is on the rise.
limited to ensure children are interacting
For ‘full’ boarders, having their various day
with each other. Set times for calling home
friends boarding regularly on a ‘flexi’ basis
can establish expectations from both sides
creates a busy and vibrant boarding house,
but flexibility over this is key and at All
making it an exciting, dynamic and energetic
Hallows, if a pupil needs to phone home, we
place to be.
do all we can to facilitate this. The transition
Dr Trevor Richards has been Head of All Hallows Preparatory School in Somerset since 2017, having been associated with the school for over 20 years. Married to Jeanna, Trevor is an educationalist and a child psychologist. He attended the University of Liverpool before gaining QTS from the University of Bath. He later took his Doctorate of Educational Psychology at the University of Bristol.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / PREPARATORY SCHOOLS / 103
Don’t just ‘go to school’... ...throw yourself in!
Yorkshire b school for boarding and day oys and girls
Flexible Boarding from Year 5
Arrange a personal visit
Find out more and register 01729 893000 | giggleswick.org.uk | email@example.com
Award winning boarding for boys Excellence in the heart of England Established in 1495, Loughborough Grammar School is one of the UK’s oldest independent boys’ schools. In our three boarding houses, sitting within our beautiful campus, we extend the warmest welcome and the best possible education to the boarders who are part of our thriving School Community.
• Exceptional extra-curricular opportunities in Sport, the Arts and Music • 78% of A Level leavers go on to study at top British universities • Excellent travel links to the UK’s main airports • Award winning cultural programme and pastoral support
lsf.org/grammar/boarding +44 (0)1509 233233 firstname.lastname@example.org
The benefits of prep school boarding
Robert Lankester Headmaster, Maidwell Hall
Say goodbye to school runs, endless testing and tutoring, mobile phones (at least in some prep schools) and chauffeuring increasingly frustrated children to endless after-school clubs. Instead, say hello to climbing trees, muddy knees and a carefree childhood.
and good mental health. However, these
disinclined to commit to anything. At
days many social factors have created
a boarding school, children can have
a world that prohibits children from
much greater independence and a sense
enjoying the benefits of this kind of
of their own responsibilities. If this can
freedom, with the result that parents
develop in a homely and comforting
feel they have to ‘helicopter’ them. A
atmosphere then the result should be
prep boarding education gives children
children learning life-enhancing skills
the independence to play with their
such as making their own decisions
friends and a freedom that helps them to
without even realising they are doing so.
Have you thought about prep school
Learning some of the harder lessons
in life in your childhood is natural and
develop and enjoy their childhood, with all the positive mental and physical health attributes this brings.
WHEN TO START BOARDING? So it’s clear there are many benefits to boarding, but when is the ideal time to start and which type of boarding should you choose?
gives you an emotional resilience that There is no doubt that a country
is beneficial later in life. For example,
Over the past 20 years there has been a
education can bring greater freedom,
decision-making – it’s very easy for
steady trend towards children boarding
space and time. We used to live in an age
parents to make all the decisions for
at a slightly older age. Children who
where children could play in the streets
their children, trying desperately to
wish to board at their senior schools
and explore with their friends, having
make life easier. Except that it doesn’t
routinely join boarding prep schools for
a level of independence that has been
– parents simply become exhausted
one year only or even a term or two.
shown to build resilience, individuality
and the children can become ‘flaky’ and
But however excellent the pastoral care
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / PREPARATORY SCHOOLS / 105
“Many prep schools now offer flexi-boarding or a transitional arrangement, allowing pupils to make a gradual change to full boarding.”
at senior schools, you cannot replicate
homesickness and it’s an emotion
the small, cosy, nurturing feel of a small prep school, which can be a softer way to settle into boarding life. Many prep schools now offer flexiboarding or a transitional arrangement, allowing pupils to make a gradual change to full boarding. This can make it easier for children to be part of the decisionmaking. However, do be aware that parttime boarding does not always offer all the benefits mentioned. So when is the right time to start boarding? The answer as always is when it suits your family’s circumstances and when your child is ready (and preferably clamouring to start!) – and in my opinion, the sooner the better.
WHAT ABOUT HOMESICKNESS? Another big question for many families
that can be felt at any age – many
is whether homesickness is an issue for
young adults experience overwhelming
children who board. There are plenty
homesickness when they leave home to
of eight-year-old full boarders and it is
go to university. Learning how to handle
remarkable how quickly they adjust. It is
emotions like these is a lifeskill that is
certainly not my experience that younger
best developed in childhood and in a kind
children are more homesick than older
and nurturing environment such as a
children. In fact, we see very little
prep boarding school.
Robert Lankester has worked in boarding schools for 30 years. Previously Housemaster and Senior Housemaster at Uppingham, he has been Headmaster at Maidwell Hall since 2001. Educated at Charterhouse and Selwyn College, Cambridge, he spent seven years in the City before making the change to teaching, which he describes as the best decision he ever made. Robert believes strongly in the benefits that boarding brings, having seen how it encourages children to be independent, live with their peers harmoniously and grow in confidence.
AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE BOARDING EXPERIENCE
Gareth Jones Headmaster, Bilton Grange
About 17 years ago, I found myself
instilling a multi-cultural awareness
standing on a large concourse at the
in our increasingly globalised society.
foot of an enormous favela in Rio de
Boarding schools arguably do this
Janeiro. Around me were concrete
better than most.
walls patterned with bullet holes and poorly built slums rising up the hill. As if I wasn’t already humbled by the poverty-stricken nature of the location itself, it was the fact that in front of where I stood were dozens of children from the favela playing makeshift drums made out of bottles and cans and teaching the mostly British children I was with how to do the same. They shared their rhythm and love of music, they taught us the dancing martial art of Capoeira, and their sheer enthusiasm and musicality broke down barriers that might otherwise have existed between children from different nations. Right there I saw that music is a universal language.
From the earliest age, we are comforted by music. As we progress through early developmental milestones, music is often used to integrate learning skills with a fun, enjoyable experience. Learning a musical instrument and singing in a choir should be part of every child’s education. It gives children a window into a creative world that is part of what makes us human. Creativity brings a sense of freedom. Rules are often obsolete when we are being creative and we have permission to take risks and try new things. When we take the time and energy to develop new ideas, we learn to understand, trust and respect ourselves which, in turn, leads to better expression
UK boarding schools offer a safe
and articulation of our thoughts. And
and well-equipped home that is far
as a result we often become more
removed from that favela but there is
confident, less stressed and more
a connection in the way that children
adaptable when problems come along
from different backgrounds come
that require a solution.
TIME FOR MUSIC Boarding schools understand all this and place great importance on music, offering instrumental and singing lessons, ensembles, orchestras, bands and many different performance opportunities. Sometimes there is so much on offer that a boarding pupil can struggle to choose. But a key benefit of boarding school life is the time it provides for many activities including, of course, music. Learning a musical instrument takes dedication and regular practice. For day pupils this will often be done at home squeezed in between homework, food, travel and other co-curricular activities. Children who board gain an advantage here. They don’t need to build in time for commuting or preparing meals. Their routine can be planned to allow time for practice and this will often be aided by dedicated support from the music department, enabling progress to be maintained and monitored. But boarding offers much more than
together in schools and a realisation
this. Ensembles and choirs can be
that music is so important for
timetabled to rehearse during boarding
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / PREPARATORY SCHOOLS / 107
time and there will also be time for pupils
100 per cent of the fees. Pupils do
to be creative, form their own ensembles,
not have to board to be part of this
compose their own music and prepare
programme but those who do will find the
performances together. All this enriches
chorister programme will dovetail with the
the house spirit and because everyone
full range of activities that all our pupils
is doing it together, music is valued by
everyone and becomes part of daily life rather than perhaps a solitary activity at
Pupils who board and embrace the musical
home House concerts, entertainments and
opportunities on offer in their schools
performances are eagerly anticipated and
will be enriched by greater confidence,
enjoyed by all.
independence and a creative spirit which can last a lifetime. So, as they say at the
MUSIC IS FOR EVERYONE Here at Bilton Grange, music is for everyone, not confined to the music school. Everyone sings with enthusiasm in school assemblies and there are ensembles, bands, an orchestra and musical dramatic performances. In 2022 we are also launching a new chorister programme which will see two new choirs – one for boys and another for girls. These auditioned choirs will rehearse and sing on four days a week but will have no commitments at the weekends. They will sing Evensong and the Eucharist in both Bilton Grange and Rugby School chapels alongside professional adult singers. This programme is supported by scholarships and means-tested bursaries up to
carnival in Rio, ‘abrace a musica’ (embrace the music).
As an English and History graduate, Gareth Jones began his teaching career at The Dragon where senior roles included Director of Sport, Director of the Extended Curriculum and Housemaster. He was Head of St Andrew’s Prep, Eastbourne for six years. Music and the performing arts flourished during his tenure there. Since September 2021, he has been Head of Bilton Grange Prep which is now part of the Rugby Schools Group.
Outdoor learning – ‘rewilding’ pupils Outdoor learning enriches learning experiences and gives children and young people the opportunity to connect with nature. The potential of outdoor learning to improve academic outcomes has been long recognised
Will Frost Head of Geography and Outdoor Learning, Salisbury Cathedral School
by the government. In 2006 it signed a manifesto from the Council for Learning
The psychological benefits of spending time
conducted outside in ‘nature’s classroom’.
Outside the Classroom (LOtC) stating:
in nature are numerous. Observing plants,
Even though ‘outdoor learning’ has its own
‘We strongly support the educational
trees, water and creatures is naturally mindful
sessions on the timetable, the end goal is a
case for learning outside the classroom.
and calming.3 In this environment children
cultural shift that sees all our staff thinking,
If all young people were given these
are more able to access their subconscious
‘I wonder if I could take this lesson outside?’.
opportunities, we believe it would make
knowledge and understanding as well as
a significant contribution to raising
their conscious minds. It’s not surprising that
Before becoming a teacher, I worked for
often children and young people who have
the National Trust for ten years. An early
been deemed to be having difficulties with
experience opened my eyes to the power of
Two years later, Ofsted, the schools’
their learning positively shine in a different,
nature to bring out the best in people. Each
inspection service, commissioned a report
week I collected a group of young jobseekers who had to participate in volunteering to
called Learning Outside the Classroom, how far should you go? The report found that ‘learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.’ It also stated that outdoor learning is most successful when it is an ‘integral element of long-term curriculum planning’.2
NATURE’S CLASSROOM One of the many benefits of boarding at a prep school is the wealth of experiences on offer both inside and outside the classroom and often the additional benefit of beautiful outdoor space to explore. At Salisbury Cathedral School (SCS) I have been campaigning for more lessons to be
remain eligible for benefits. Many of the young people involved had known drug and alcohol problems and I was unsure about how much they would benefit from the planned outdoor rehabilitation programme. I’ve never been so happy to be so completely wrong. After a tiring day cutting back invasive
https://www.lotc.org.uk/manifesto/view/d https://www.lotc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Ofsted-Report-Oct-2008.pdf Peadar Maxwell, child psychologist, quoted from https://www.independent.ie/life/family/mothers-babies/rewild-your-child-why-families-need-to-reconnect-with-nature-38451517.html 4 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/07/education-children-not-feral-enough 1 2 3
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / PREPARATORY SCHOOLS / 109
rhododendrons, my young team came to
Rewilding is an increasingly mainstream
on their skin. The more they do this, the
life with an amazing sense of purpose. The
environmental movement committed to
stronger, more confident, healthy and happy
time outside in nature, camaraderie and all
reversing the destruction of the natural world
they will become. At SCS we are lucky to have
the fresh air and exercise were the most
by doing (almost) nothing. It is the reverse
27 acres of green space, including a lake,
tremendous tonic for all and by the end of
of conventional conservation policy. There
trees, lawns and pitches in the heart of the
the day no one wanted to stop!
is no box-ticking, no target-driven initiatives.
city, and the beautiful campus is ideal for
Instead, land is given back to nature. Rivers
connecting pupils with nature every day.
As I progressed in my career at the National
are re-wiggled, scrub areas are left to grow,
Trust, I found my job slowly changed from
verges are planted with native wildflowers
Rewilding our children is not all play though.
being outside with others and became more
and herbivores have been reintroduced to
Whether it’s creating history timelines on
office-based and target-driven. It was the
create dynamic habitats through natural seed
the school driveway or demonstrating
memory of how those young jobseekers
population pyramids by the cricket pitch, our pupils thrive when they are learning
blossomed in the fresh air that led me to teaching, with a strong focus on taking children out into nature. I joined SCS in 2020 with the aim of leaving the place (SCS) better than I found it and working to ensure all pupils have the opportunity to learn, have memorable experiences and make meaningful friendships outdoors. Working together with the rest of the school staff, I hope to rewild both the pupils and their school environment.
OPEN TO EVERYONE The beauty of rewilding is that it’s open to everyone. You can rewild anything from a window box to the whole world. At SCS, we are starting small by keeping everything we cut. It is a bit of a culture shock as the reality of rewilding can be quite messy with all the bugs that thrive – garden waste can stimulate a biodiversity of insects very quickly. Tree trimmings make pretend swords and are great for den-building. These toys from nature bring simple joy to our pupils. There is much enthusiasm throughout the school community for rewilding. In 2020 our Year 8s created videos to inspire everyone to rewild their gardens as one of many challenges for SCS’s first Green Week. The concept of rewilding has been expanded to also reflect the importance of reconnecting children with nature. To connect with nature, children need to be outdoors in natural environments as much as possible. They need to play outside in woodlands, roll down hills and climb trees. They need to get wet and muddy and feel the wind, rain and sun
in new and different environments. SCS is also committed to ensuring future field trips provide opportunity for pupils to get involved, for example by keeping data on wildlife, litterpicking or planting trees or hedges. If they revisit the same destination in the future, they will have a sense of pride knowing they have contributed.
Will Frost joined Salisbury Cathedral School (SCS) in 2020 from Windlesham House School. As Head of Geography and Outdoor Learning, Will introduced the first ever SCS Green Week in 2020 and is continually increasing the amount of outdoor learning for every pupil. Before teaching, Will worked for the National Trust and was a contributor to the ‘50 Things to Do Before You’re 11’ scheme, designed to encourage children out into nature. He has also volunteered as a guide at the Knepp Estate, known for its very successful rewilding project, the ‘Great Landscape Experiment’.
Olly Langton Headmaster, Belhaven Hill School
Using robotics, 3D printing and computing in a prep school
The ability to understand twenty-first century technology is the first step to being able to control the creative power of computers. There is no doubt that prep schools must meet this challenge head on if we are to fulfill a leading role as educators of the next generation. The perception that this challenge involves the adoption of a completely new set of skills needs to change. In fact, much of what we can learn from computational thinking has been championed by prep schools for generations: resilience, perseverance, dedication, focus, and accuracy. The challenge with computing education is that we do not know what the technology will be when our pupils leave formal education in a decade’s time. What we do know is that almost all roles will use technology, so knowing how technology works will be an essential prerequisite for a successful career. Key to our pupils’ success will be an understanding of computational thinking and developing a lifelong interest in computing. The Raspberry Pi Foundation explains that
excellent pastoral care and nurturing
rather than abstract form. To achieve this,
‘computational thinking is solving a problem
communities, small class sizes and
here at Belhaven Hill, we have invested in
by breaking it down into its individual parts
dedicated staff, they can provide the perfect
Spheros, Micro:bits and Raspberry Pis.
and building an algorithm to solve the
opportunity to experiment and ‘fail safely’. The younger pupils use the Sphero robots,
problem’. This area of computer science encourages children to be creative. Prep
To develop computational thinking, children
spherical robots which can be programmed
schools provide the ideal environment in
need regular access to physical computing
on iPads using a block-based programming
which to develop creativity. With their
so that they can see the results in tangible
language. Creating routes for the Sphero
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / PREPARATORY SCHOOLS / 111
to navigate provides the opportunity for
We have recently invested in a 3D printer
Prep schools need to encourage failure
problem-solving and gives children a feeling
which has created real excitement among
to a greater degree than has previously
of mastery through ‘live’ experience. The
the pupils. They have used it to produce
been allowed. The ‘fear of failure’ inculcated
pupils can also make the Sphero robots
chess set pieces, a new trophy for the
in part by the exam culture of modern
communicate with each other, allowing the
school’s stop-motion animation competition,
schooling, must be addressed as a first step
development of simple communication
and to make other familiar items. This
in removing the shackles from our pupils’
protocols, as well as responding to events
has already created a legacy in which the
progress. An immersive approach to the
such as crashing into a wall! This ability to
children see themselves as engineers.
adoption of technology for staff and pupils, forced upon us by successive lockdowns, has
break a task down into its composite parts
components such as a Servo.
‘DIGITAL MAKERS’ Our goal is to create a cohort of ‘digital makers’ who can design bespoke parts for a project, connect them to a programmable device and use them to solve a problem. Pupils might construct a chariot to connect to a Sphero so that a favourite teddy can be transported around a dorm; or they might programme a Micro:bit to create a selfopening bin for a visually impaired relative at home.
Physical computing offers children
Prep schools can be the perfect environment
the opportunity to be creative with
for the trial and error approach to working
their solutions to problems. Alongside
with computers. Our children need these
programming, children can be introduced
digital skills to achieve a greater level of
to other skills such as soldering, computer-
proficiency in all aspects of their education.
lies at the heart of computational thinking. Older pupils at Belhaven Hill use their iPads to program Micro:bits. These are microcontroller boards specifically designed to teach children physical computing. Pupils use a similar block-based language to the Sphero to program the Micro:bits’ onboard components (such as buttons, compasses and LED screens) and can also add
aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).
produced a significant increase in the pace of progress. Now is the time to forge ahead and prepare our children for the challenges they will confront at the next stage of their education and in the wider world beyond. Robotics, 3D printing and computing definitely need to be part of a modern prep school’s curriculum.
Olly Langton joined Belhaven Hill School as Headmaster in 2020 having taught at Ludgrove (2005–7) and Radley (2007–20). He is married to Rosie and together they ran a boarding house at Radley for seven years before moving to Belhaven. They are joined by their three children, Alexander (now at Belhaven), Cleo and Lettie, and their Labrador, Nelson.
How boarding schools support children’s mental and emotional development
Fred de Falbe Headmaster, Beeston Hall and play with academic progress. There is no wasted travel time, no environmental footprint, but a rhythm to the children’s lives and friendships. There is the hierarchy and discipline of systems (but none of the oppression of ancient stereotypes) within which children can begin making their own, unilateral but supported choices – something, as we adults know, is often a challenge.
In an assembled group at school, it is an obvious and easy question to ask – what do we value most highly in life? For some the first answer may be God, but more commonly – certainly among prep school-age children – it is ‘family’ or ‘love’. (Occasionally ‘time’ is offered up too, but more usually by old stagers in Year 8 who have been in on this discussion before.) The point is that these three abstract nouns are the keys to our capacity to form and maintain relationships in life which, in turn, leads to that Holy Grail – happiness. This is not to say life, particularly the life of a child, should be unalloyed happiness, but it is a notion that merits unpicking within the discussion about boarding school. Happiness? Rather than heading down this ‘rabbit hole’ of philosophical discussion, we should consider the end game: what are parents and pupils aiming for when they choose UK independent education – known and admired around the world as a gold standard? We want our charges to become well educated, but what does that mean? Besides the fulfilling of academic potential, we aspire for the children we look after to become open-minded, energetic and flexible young people, willing and able to work in groups and to think creatively and independently so they have the confidence to take initiative and contribute in purposeful and constructive ways. This process starts in the home with parental instincts driving the development of our children but before too
long – and quite correctly as children begin socialisation and stimulation – we seek help elsewhere. So begins school and the wider development of our children and the challenges of parenting. One irony of our privileged, post-industrial, twenty-first century lives is the lack of time juxtaposed with the sheer quantity of information, both fanned by the distractions and diversions that can enfold our relentless schedules. Titles such as The Collapse of Parenting and Raising Boys offer analysis and advice but do not stop the guilt, interspersed though it is with natty new methods of ‘having everything’. On top of this comes the consequent inability to construct communities of a sufficiently small and digestible scale to allow children to develop the social and emotional intelligences so necessary to fulfil the aims outlined above. So we come to boarding school. A small boarding community does not replace family. But it does begin to reflect the ‘village’ or ‘tribe’ model outlined by so many social psychologists, something which has served humanity well for millennia and has all but disappeared in today’s developed world. Prefaced by the adage ‘not for everyone’, we begin the observation that children, in many cases at Beeston Hall, often choose this for themselves. They see the structures and efficiencies – never mind fun – of such an arrangement, where their time is more purposefully spent, mixing up activities
While the care of each child is paramount and pastoral systems unimpeachable, our boarding schools are organised to serve a community, not the individual needs of each child. This has a powerful effect on each child’s capacity to operate in a group and share, developing the resilience to stand up for themselves, contribute and be noticed. There is the freedom to make decisions and to learn the consequences of this – whether it is falling off a swing or resolutely practising the French horn – and this means the 13 year old departing for senior school has developed some awareness of their own thought processes and the impact they can have. In my view, the effect of this contained, curated life of a small prep school helps achieve a remarkable combination of humility and self-confidence, where children can gently but firmly make their ways in the world. This is why they are greeted with open arms by senior schools and also, of course, by parents who, rather than serving them as taxi driver, coach and tutor (chief nag very often too), delight in seeing their children flourishing into young adults who have learnt the benefit of good relationships, of making an effort, and of contributing to the world around them.
Fred de Falbe has been Headmaster of Beeston Hall, a boarding and day prep school in Norfolk, since 2016. Before that he was a Prep Head in Herefordshire, after six years at Knightsbridge School, latterly as Deputy Head. His first spell of teaching was after Eton, as an 18 year old in Honduras, which led to a career in film after a Theology degree at Manchester. Having completed eight years in the maintained sector, which he combined with smallholding in Devon, he ran a property business before returning to teaching. He is married to Juliet, who plays a key pastoral role in the school, and they have three children.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / PREPARATORY SCHOOLS / 113
Ludgrove • Full boarding boys’ prep school set in 130 acres of grounds in rural Berkshire. • Family run school with a homely atmosphere and outstanding pastoral care. • Small classes and excellent academic record. • Extensive extracurricular programme supported by new and modern facilities. • Newly opened £2.5million, state-of-the-art Exploration Centre providing one of the finest prep school scientific and creative learning environments in the country.
Ludgrove, Wokingham, Berkshire RG40 3AB · 0118 978 9881 · email@example.com · www.ludgrove.net Ludgrove_Advert_2022_185x125_v1.indd 1
Full Weekly Flexi-Boarding
Sherfield School "Boarders will be thrilled – the Coeducational brand-new, larch-clad boarding block is the smartest I’ve 3 months seen, with modern, to private en-suite rooms 18 years for each pupil." Boarding Maya Boyd, School Reviewer
www. sherfieldschool. co.uk
from 9 years Hook, Hampshire
01256 884 800
45 minute train from London
Responsibility versus maturity
– when to introduce more freedom to prep school boarders Every parent hopes their child will grow up to be a success – a happy and
Paddy Moss Headmaster, Dean Close Preparatory School
fulfilled adult who makes considered choices and who appreciates the value of being of service to others. Many schools promise to provide the opportunities to achieve this, particularly through boarding provision. Boarding is no longer popular simply
are not quite ready to take their next steps?
child is important in order to offer
as a necessity for travelling or busy
The key is for houseparents and house
the appropriate concessions. Giving
parents – it is a lifestyle choice for
tutors to really know each individual pupil
responsibility to a young person can have
parents who recognise and value the
very well and to work with parents through
immense benefits for all involved and can
benefits of it.
understanding their different parenting
offer opportunities to learn and develop new
lessons learnt from being educated away
Equally important is monitoring the choices
The first question to consider when
from home – teamwork through living with
each child makes as they navigate their
giving responsibility is: ‘Are they ready?’
others, taking care of one’s own physical and
school journey, being there to celebrate their
Professionals who work in boarding schools
emotional needs with support from staff,
successes and offering compassion and
are very experienced in knowing when to
taking responsibility for self-organisation
guidance when they make mistakes.
allow their charges to draw close and when
There are many values to be gained and
both of academic and co-curricular activities. These are all qualities a child can develop at a nurturing boarding school. Offering an age-appropriate level of independence is of great value. So how do schools manage to give enough freedom for those who are mature enough, while holding on a little more tightly to those who
to loosen up.
‘HOUSE RULES’ A clear set of ‘house rules’ acts as an invaluable safety net. These can give more freedom for older boarders, that younger boarders can aspire to, and a clear understanding that these levels of freedom are earned, based on the houseparents’ judgement. Again, knowing the individual
While supervision levels are never relaxed, as a boarder gains greater maturity, so expectations of appropriate behaviour and responsibility increase. Examples of increased freedoms in a school such as Dean Close can be found in downtime and during more routine school time. For
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / PREPARATORY SCHOOLS / 115
“Giving responsibility to a young person can have immense benefits for all involved and can offer opportunities to learn and develop new skills.”
example, in the run-up to examinations,
younger pupils can also visit their favourite
dedicated staff sit with younger boarders
haunts but remain under the watchful gaze
guiding them through their revision
of a gap-year student. Just as parents expect
homework, while older prep school
more involvement of children in helping with
pupils are expected to have created their
the household chores, so boarders benefit
own revision timetable and to prepare
from taking responsibility for organising
independently for the challenges of the
their boarding house. Rotas for keeping the
games room tidy or helping matron with the nightly toasted sandwiches are opportunities
OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSEQUENCES During the lovely long summer evenings, older pupils at Dean Close enjoy playing traditional wide games in the woodland area where they can run off their pent-up energy, but they are fully aware of the consequences if they stray too far from their team or return to the boarding house past curfew. These opportunities to be close to ‘home’ but at the same time out of sight, provide invaluable lessons – creating their own fun, being aware of the time and looking out for others.
for children to serve and they gain great satisfaction from this. While away from home, children have to make choices and decisions uncoached by parents, the consequences of which should always be seen as a learning experience. Whether it is a good choice that leads to a positive result or a less considered one which should never be repeated, a child learns through this process. They understand they have the ability and freedom to take responsibility and build up
Boarding schools fortunate to be located
resilience if a situation does not go their
in, or in close walking distance of, a town
way, taking their first steps to becoming well-
can also allow their pupils some supervised
rounded and happy individuals. The road
freedom off site. While it might be suitable
can be more rocky for some than others, but
to allow older prep school pupils to do their
a good school will always recognise the value
Christmas shopping in town in small groups,
of the journey.
an annual treat they all look forward to,
Paddy Moss is Headmaster of Dean Close Preparatory School. Paddy joined Dean Close in 2015 from Kenya, having spent nine years as Headmaster of a premier British-curriculum preparatory boarding school. A Canadian by birth but brought up in the west of England, Paddy studied Geography and Economics (SOAS, London University) before embarking on a career as a teacher in several boarding and day prep schools, in the UK and abroad, where he was also a member of many of the senior management teams. He is a highly experienced sports coach with a passion for outdoor activities and scouting. He and his wife, a maths and PE teacher, have three daughters at Dean Close.
Preparing pupils for the transition to senior schools
The crucial process of transitioning from prep school to senior school has seen significant changes over recent years, with a
Simone Mitchell, Deputy Head, Director of Teaching and Learning, Swanbourne House School
more bespoke, nurturing start earlier. It used to start about 18
was a tense wait for Common
months before a pupil left us, now the
Entrance results taken in June for
preparation starts four years before
September entry, with the anxiety of
they will set foot in a senior school.
waiting for a place to be confirmed.
At Swanbourne House, we know it’s
This is a very positive development for
Now, it is very rare for a senior school
an evolving and creative process, with
families and schools. Indeed, when I’m
not to give an unconditional offer.
no ‘catch-all’ approach. A personal
asked what can be the biggest pitfall in
This development benefits pupils,
approach is rightly expected by families,
the process, I often say timing.
allowing prep schools time to create
and tailored approach sought by families.
a tailored approach to their learning,
and creating a robust, specific path for the child to their chosen senior school
All senior schools publish details of
preparing pupils so they can thrive
can be a challenging process, but one
their registration process on their
in their senior school. Starting the
that reaps significant rewards.
website well in advance – my advice
process early gives schools and
to families would always be to check
parents an opportunity to plan
If I could point to one significant change
the dates and don’t assume all
accordingly for the child.
in the transition process over recent
schools will have the same timings
years, it’s seeing the whole process
and process. In years gone by, there
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / PREPARATORY SCHOOLS / 117
PERSONAL TUTOR Having the academic and pastoral contact of a personal tutor, who can work with the child on a daily basis and across a number of years, will help them shape their progress and get them ready for their next step. This close relationship is vital to making sure we know what we need to do for each child to ensure they are ready for the next part of their school journey. An important part of this is preparing them for the tests and assessments they will take for their senior school entry. In Year 6 pupils start taking senior school tests, so through the whole of Year 5 we offer them assistance in verbal and nonverbal reasoning testing, and prepare them for maths and English assessments. This preparation also includes practice interviews with members of the Senior Leadership Team.
early and keep the conversation going. This is vital in choosing the right senior school for each child and ensuring a smooth and successful transition. You may want a day or a boarding place, co-ed or single-sex, or a school in a particular part of the country or that’s important to your family. Your prep school will know your child well and be able to offer tailored advice, with a knowledge of the character of the different senior schools. They will also know children similar to your son or daughter and at which schools they have thrived. Finally, visit the senior schools you have in mind to soak up the ambience and atmosphere (perhaps without your child on the first visit). I liken choosing a school to buying a house. Different houses may have the right facilities, be in the right
At Swanbourne we have also created a
traits and skills they need to thrive in their
place and have all you need on paper,
programme of enriching co-curricular
however until you see it you can’t get a sense of all those things you can’t put into
activities to help develop confidence, foster self-management skills and build resilience. From an early age, pupils are taken on fun and challenging outdoor trips that help them develop that important ‘can-do’ attitude while also learning to work as an individual, thrive as part of a team, reflect on their successes and failures and nurture self-belief. A varied Saturday Enrichment Programme brings out new skills and abilities through engaging and challenging activities such as performance car design, fashion and merchandising, clay pigeon shooting,
FLEXI-BOARDING Most pupils board at their senior school, so giving exposure to boarding at their prep school is important. At Swanbourne, we encourage families to take advantage of our flexi-boarding option if the pupil isn’t already boarding. Flexi-boarding gives pupils the opportunity to stay a few nights a week at our boarding house, building up their experience, learning the routines and nuances of boarding, and helping them to have a smoother transition into senior school.
bushcraft and language learning. These experiences encourage a desire to take
One of the most important pieces of
on new challenges, helping children to
advice I’d give to parents is to start
develop the self-belief and the character
communicating with your prep school
words, the feeling it gives you that this is the right place. Good luck! Simone qualified as an English teacher in 1996 from Exeter University and has worked in the independent school sector since 2001. Following three years’ teaching in Japan, she has worked for three senior schools in the UK in a variety of roles including English teacher and Head of English. Simone sits as part of the Senior Leadership Team at Swanbourne House School as Deputy Head, Director of Teaching and Learning, and she oversees the transition of pupils to senior school. Simone undertook a Masters Degree in Education at the University of Buckingham in Educational Leadership. She is an External Tutor for the University of Buckingham and lectures on PGCE courses.
new prep Jon Timmins Acting Head, Wymondham College Prep School and Head of Underwood Hall
Being a new prep school boarder is an ideal way for pupils to get a first taste of boarding and prepare them for what life will be like if they go on to a senior boarding school.
Underwood Hall is Wymondham College
offering it in one unmanageable load. As
Prep School’s new mixed boarding house
well as teaching new routines and new
for pupils in Years 5 and 6. Despite being
expectations, all our induction activity
a brand new boarding house and school,
centred around children getting to know
we are the prep school to the well-known
each other and the staff team, us getting to
and well-established Wymondham College.
know them and, importantly, there being
An important aspect of the culture that
plenty of fun and laughter.
we are looking to grow is that we are very much ‘prep by name and prep by nature’.
MAKING A BOARDING HOUSE INTO
We are truly looking to prepare boarders
for the start of a long boarding journey with
An early challenge of opening a new
the College. Our proximity to the College
boarding house has been to break down
has created an excellent opportunity to
the inevitable clinical feel of a large new
involve older and more seasoned boarders
build and make it into a home. From
in helping the prep school boarders learn
the beginning we have emphasised that
what an exciting opportunity living away
Underwood Hall is not ‘my’ boarding house
from home can be. We have welcomed the
but ‘our’ boarding house and we have
older boarders into Underwood Hall where
involved the boarders in the decision-
they have helped with, and sometimes led,
making process as much as possible. For
evening and weekend activities, provided an
example, we have consulted boarders
extra pair of eyes during prep and offered
about topics such as routine, activities, trips,
the younger boaders a sounding board,
interior design, garden design and food. We
other than a member of staff, to talk about
have involved them very closely in terms
of setting the tone and the culture of the house and this has played a really important
Before the prep boarding house opened, we
part in making the boarding house into a
carefully planned our induction programme.
Over the first few weeks of term we planned when to deliver key pieces of information so
The culture of Underwood Hall is an inviting
as to drip feed information rather than
one. It is built upon happiness, kindness and
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / PREPARATORY SCHOOLS / 119
p school boarder
being helpful. We celebrate boarders
is that you are never short of company,
who demonstrate these things on a
an opponent or a teammate.
weekly basis via a system of rewards directly related to our core values.
It is interesting that when interviewing prospective boarders, the thing they
A priority has been to keep boarders
anticipate liking the most is being around
busy and to limit device time. Although
their friends all the time. I am always
boarders are allowed a device that
pleased to tell them, and their parents,
connects to the internet, we restrict
that this is one of several aspects that
device time to an hour a day so there
our boarders would say is the best thing
is plenty of time to contact family and
about Underwood Hall, together with
friends. This leaves time to interact and
the sense of camaraderie that boarding
engage in activities and games even if
brings – hard to replicate elsewhere.
this is something as simple as a game of cards, a game of table tennis or a kickabout on the astroturf. One of the enormous benefits of boarding after all
Jon Timmins is Acting Head of Wymondham College Prep School and Head of Underwood Hall. He has extensive boarding experience in both the independent sector and state sector having worked previously at Junior Kings Canterbury and St George’s, Harpenden. Jon and his wife Maria live in Underwood Hall with their two children, Jess and Charlie, who both attend Wymondham College.
Jo Cameron Principal, Queenswood School
What does a bespoke education actually mean?
Almost all independent schools
There will be greater support for children
proudly assert that they offer a
with special educational needs, and further
‘bespoke education’. As the Principal
opportunities to stretch the gifted and
of a girls’ boarding and day school, I
am often asked what this means in practice. Small class sizes are of course a crucial factor. Many parents are justifiably alarmed by the ever-increasing class sizes in state schools. An article in the June 2019 edition of Schools Week revealed that the number of classes of over 30 (some as high as 35) has almost doubled in five years. So it’s no wonder that the considerably smaller class sizes in independent schools are a real attraction. Consider just how far-reaching those benefits are. In an average class of around 15, a child will receive twice as much individual attention from the teacher, who will soon develop an understanding of how he or she learns best.
Independent schools generally place
considerably greater emphasis on the
creative arts. At a time when curriculum time for subjects such as music, drama
and dance is being squeezed nationally,
TAILORED TO PUPILS’ INTERESTS AND PASSIONS Freedom from the constraints of the National Curriculum in the independent sector means that at Key Stage 3, the range of subjects on offer – and the schemes of work and syllabuses delivered within those subjects – can be tailored to the genuine interests and passions of the pupils themselves. The range of modern foreign and classical languages taught in independent schools is a case in point – while language learning is in decline in the state sector, Japanese, Arabic, Latin and Ancient Greek are all thriving in private schools.
and no provision for the arts is made in
the Department for Education’s EBacc (the
set of eight recommended GCSE subjects), pupils at independent schools are very
fortunate to enjoy the advantages of an
education that values creativity, originality and resourcefulness. Boarding pupils are
especially able to enjoy all the activities and
opportunities on offer during the school day and in the evenings and weekends.
A CREATIVE EDUCATION Beyond the sheer satisfaction of selfexpression, a creative education offers many benefits to pupils. Research has shown that regular and sustained participation in musical activities stimulates the brain to
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / SENIOR SCHOOLS / 121
form new neural networks, and leads to
philanthropists. They might even put
better working memory (vital for mental
themselves forward for the prestigious
arithmetic and reading comprehension),
annual Global Young Leaders Conference in
improved linguistic ability, and improvements
in attention span, emotional resilience, empathy and self-confidence. Likewise, studying drama and dance helps young people to improvise, think laterally, and become adaptable problem-solvers. Drama students grow into confident and articulate public speakers and working collaboratively on performance projects encourages engagement with others’ viewpoints, and helps to develop qualities such as compassion and tolerance. These
INDIVIDUAL LEARNING STYLES At the heart of a bespoke education is a recognition that each pupil develops at their own pace, and in their own learning style. For example, while kinaesthetic learners favour practical and hands-on experience, auditory-musical learners benefit from mnemonics, rhythms and background sounds. Increasingly, independent schools are working to differentiate their teaching methods to suit individual learners.
Ultimately, every pupil deserves to be recognised as an individual. A bespoke education responds and reacts to the
skills and qualities are highly prized by At Queenswood, we have recently
needs of each child, nurturing their
established a Personalised Learning Centre
unique potential, fostering independence,
As pupils progress, the degree of
– a central hub where all learners can
and allowing them to discover their own
personalisation increases still further. They
congregate. Senior academic scholars meet
strengths and passions in a safe and
are able to take advantage of the extensive
here for one-to-one and group sessions, to
resources available – including, crucially, the
explore options for stretch and challenge
wide-ranging expertise of the teaching staff
and to discuss current affairs. Some pupils
– to conduct their own research projects
use it as a drop-in centre to seek advice
or take up elective courses. For example,
on planning study and revision schedules,
in the sixth form at Queenswood, girls are
play flashcard games to boost working
able to augment their A-level studies with
memory, discuss recommendations for
seminars on topics such as personal finance,
non-fiction reading with staff and peers, or
forensic psychology, philosophy and politics,
for structured tutorials to address specific
and to attend lectures from prominent
authors, politicians, entrepreneurs and
Jo Cameron has been Principal of Queenswood, a boarding and day school for girls, since 2016. A graduate of the University of Surrey (St Mary’s College) with an honours degree in Environmental Science, for the past 20 years Jo has worked almost exclusively in girls’ schools. Beyond the classroom and in her spare time, Jo is a keen sportswoman, with a passion for hockey, running and equestrianism. She is married with two sons.
Girls and STEAM subjects The UK CEO of Siemens, Carl Ennis, told delegates at the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) annual
Olivera Raraty Headmistress, Malvern St James Girls’ School
conference in 2021 that fighting climate change ‘will need the broadest, brightest and boldest minds and will be a struggle without a fully cross-sectional and gender-equal cohort of scientists, engineers and technologists. Inevitably, scientists and engineers will be at the heart of dealing with the challenge. And diverse teams are more likely to reach scientific breakthrough.’ Each year the UK needs 203,000 people
encourages more girls to consider a branch
the opportunities they offer for a range of
of engineering as a career that will be a
highly successful and adventurous careers.
positive aspect of the global crisis we all
Many girls do not have a chance to see
what these careers look like or to hear the list of exciting, unexpected answers to the
Women account for just 24 per cent of
question ‘What do engineers actually do?’.
the UK’s workforce in engineering, science and technology (while 51 per cent of the
Girls in girls’ schools are more likely to study
working-age population are female) with
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering
only 12 per cent of them in engineering
and Maths) subjects at A level. In fact, they
(Women into Science and Engineering
are nearly three times more likely to take
maths and physics. But, more widely, when
with Level 3+ engineering skills to meet
it comes to choosing university courses,
demand. This generation of teenagers is
I believe one of the reasons for these sorry
perhaps the most committed to protecting
statistics is a lack of female role models.
the planet. The interest in COP26 – and
Another is a widespread lack of information,
This may be because of the binary nature
the attendant activism – was evidence of
even a false perception, about the nature
of the decision-making aged 15 concerning
that. If contributing to the planet’s survival
of the jobs available in those sectors and
A-level subject choice. This is an unrealistic
many girls are rejecting science options.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / SENIOR SCHOOLS / 123
Boarding at Felsted Leading all-round education with pupil wellbeing at its heart. Give your child the space to thrive with our variety of modern boarding options. Based on a safe rural campus just one hour from London.
Book your visit and find out more at felsted.org/opendays Developing character, making a difference. Co-educational, ages 4-18, boarding & day. #FelstedFamily
A leading coeducational boarding and day school, from ages 5-18 firstname.lastname@example.org | stleonards-fife.org An HMC and IB World School
which resembles real life much more than the strict division of subjects in the traditional curriculum. It could be argued that in a girls’ school, it is easier to encourage pupils to take an interest in STEM subjects because there is no gender stereotyping. Younger girls see the older ones as STEM subject approach to learning – the truly inquisitive
mentors and they see the usefulness, as
and bright child will have a wide range of
well as the fun, of participating in national
interests and will have understood how
STEM challenges and Olympiads and in
subject boundaries blur. An all-round
the excitement of research. The Malvern
education does not encourage pupils to
Festival of Innovation, which takes place
virtually on our school’s doorstep, is a treasure trove of opportunities – our
CREATIVE AND CRITICAL More than ever, the world needs creative and critical thinkers who can demonstrate technical and mathematical skills, digital literacy and scientific knowledge. But an engineer who has studied product design or art will be bringing to their technical and scientific work not only an aesthetic appreciation but also a creative approach grounded in experimental thinking and design or concept development from start to finish. The combination of STEM and Arts subjects (STEAM) is often where innovation is forged.
Years 7 and 8 won competitions for their design and building of cars in both the Bloodhound and Mazak challenges. We have added entrepreneurship to our Year 10 programme and have also increased our links not only with universities but with business and industry so that the girls have as many opportunities as possible to see and hear about the world of work for which they are preparing. We organise off-curriculum, out-of-school activities such as local work experience sessions and job placements for girls in Year 11 and above, visits to careers fairs,
Employers have made it clear that,
tours of local factories and a trip to RAF
whatever the sector, they are placing
Cosford for our Year 9 pupils. And at
greater emphasis on emotional intelligence
the other end of the school, we have a
in their recruitment: young people who are
team of six sixth-form pupils participating
both self-aware and socially aware, and
in a CREST research project where
who can work collaboratively. Potential
they are carrying out a series of novel
leaders no longer have to demonstrate
chemical reactions in school to synthesise
their mastery of command and control;
intermediates for potential use in the
rather they need to show how best they
can engage with their colleagues. In my view, study and appreciation of the arts
We are also lucky to have successful
help to develop creative, analytical and
alumnae who are happy to come back to
critical thinking but also deepen our
their old school to talk about their own
understanding of human emotions and
careers. This offers the chance for the
pupils to hear and ask questions about a wide range of experiences. It is impossible
Here at Malvern St James, we have more
for teachers to provide these first-hand
girls than at any time studying STEM
subjects at A level, and more girls going on to read STEM subjects at university. But
As we watch the march of artificial
they are doing so with a background and
intelligence (AI) across every aspect of our
continuing interest and involvement in arts.
lives, the excitement offered by school
For example, they are combining physics
computing departments and the interest
and maths with art or design technology,
in coding continue to grow. Computing is
or biology and chemistry with psychology
a subject that defies subject definition and
is an excellent example of creative and critical thinking without boundaries. The
I am wholeheartedly committed to this
National Cyber Security Agency is doing
approach. This is why we have recently
excellent work in encouraging girls into the
appointed a Head of STEAM, a new post
cyber sector with their Cyberfirst and Cyber
which encourages a multidisciplinary
approach to teaching and learning and
MINI-ENGINEERS Children are naturally mini-engineers. Just watch them building and tinkering and notice how creative they are about solving problems. Formal education doesn’t allow them the scope to make the most of these natural attributes so it is important for schools to try to find creative ways for young children’s inborn curiosity to be nurtured and have practical outlets. Our own prep girls, aged 4 to 11, have undertaken a Mini Young Enterprise Challenge as well as a STEAM club where they have programmed robots and created circuits to light up a dolls’ house. They also take part in National Science and Engineering Week where the whole school goes off curriculum to enjoy workshops and all kinds of scientific challenges. These all provide excellent platforms for building self-confidence. It’s crucial to keep those hands-on experiences through senior school so that children’s natural enthusiasm for finding out how things work is not switched off. Education needs to be increasingly outward-looking, taking place beyond the classroom to make the necessary connection with real life and to understand the application, not just the theory, of ‘subjects’. The application of science in all its wonders needs to be embedded in the curriculum. The the thrill of problem-solving – with those exciting eureka moments – needs to happen across the whole of the school experience, whatever subject you are learning. Schools need to be more adventurous about demonstrating to pupils, all pupils, just how many careers STEM offers in terms of intellectual excitement, personal fulfilment, and social and environmental benefit. If we can do that, with conviction and ambition, I am confident we will witness a growth in the number of women opting for a career in STEM, especially if that choice has been supported by the fundamentals of a STEAM education. The arts have a place in a civilised life, in a career that makes a difference. They are not an extra.
Olivera Raraty became Headmistress of Malvern St James Girls’ School in September 2016. Previously she was Deputy Head (Academic) at Notting Hill and Ealing High School in London and enjoyed a long career at Wycombe Abbey School as Head of History and Politics and Assistant Director of Studies.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / SENIOR SCHOOLS / 125
ADVERTORIAL FETTES COLLEGE – A PLACE TO LIVE. A PLACE TO LEARN. A PLACE TO GROW. Situated in a stunning 100-acre campus,
March 2012, the only Scottish boarding
Fettes College is a collaborative
school to be able to say this.
community in which every member is working towards fully realising their potential whilst supporting those around
Each boarding house is like a family, a group of staff and students looking after
each other: helping, encouraging and
We want our students to leave us
boarding houses are at the heart of
surrounded by friends, with the best
Fettes life: lifelong friendships are made,
academic grades or IB score possible,
trust is fostered and loyalty forged.
being fully prepared for the next exciting
simply being there when needed. Our
phase of their lives.
As well as bonds with fellow housemates,
included the launch of Fettes Radio. “My
the Houseparents, Tutors and Matrons
time at Fettes was not just an education, but
We offer each of our students the
are dedicated to caring for and
a journey of discovery” – words from an
opportunity to make the most of their
encouraging each student. In College,
Old Fettesian that reflect the Fettes ethos
talents and to gain a wealth of new
every member of our full-time teaching
of encouraging students to challenge
experiences in a happy, encouraging
staff is connected to a boarding house
themselves and work diligently to achieve
environment. We maximise their
and does one night of duty in-house per
their goals in all that they do, and to be
potential by affording them all the
week, so all staff are involved in boarding
curious, creative and kind.
opportunities that a full boarding
in one way or another.
education can offer whilst ensuring the highest levels of care. In Scotland, all boarding schools are inspected by The Care Inspectorate and Fettes is proud to have been awarded the top grade of ‘Excellent’ for every inspection since
With a wide range of co-curricular activities on offer, weekends at Fettes are busy and fun-filled. Students are encouraged to give everything a go – and last year one of our new activities
“Fettes taught me to give everything a go, to do my best and to think for myself, but most importantly, I feel – to think of the future.”
Full boarding ethos Co-educational 13-18 Excellent IB, A Level & GCSE results Sector leading pastoral care Extensive co-curricular programme
Contact us at email@example.com or 0131 311 6744 to discover Fettes.
Boarding as preparation for twenty-first century life
2020 really pushed us to our limits, and perhaps even beyond. When you were desperately trying to keep your business afloat or tearing your hair out at ever-changing social and travel
Lisa Kerr Principal, Gordonstoun
restrictions, I wonder, what skills did you call upon? I suspect your strength of character and resilience were just
was a true pioneer in this regard. The
compassion. Over the years this has been
as important as your intellectual
Gordonstoun motto, ‘Plus est en vous’ or
inaccurately depicted as a tough regime of
knowledge. We all had to dig deep.
’There is more in you’, is as relevant today
cross-country running and cold showers.
as it was when the visionary educationalist,
But the reality is that pupils learn teamwork
Dr Kurt Hahn, founded the school in 1934.
on our ocean-going sail training vessel,
UK boarding schools are renowned for
develop resilience on expeditions into
the standard of education they provide, but the events of 2020 demonstrated the
Hahn’s vision was that young people
the Highlands and grow a strong sense of
importance of the broad range of skills we
needed to be challenged in order to
service to the community by volunteering
teach. The word ‘character education’ has
develop the skills they would need for life,
to be lifeguards or members of the
become over-used but Gordonstoun
such as resilience, responsibility and
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / SENIOR SCHOOLS / 127
UK boarding schools offer opportunities that many children can only dream of. And they develop skills which they can draw upon as they face life’s ups and downs. Young people need to understand that life is not plain sailing. How many of us faltered in our response when faced with the enormous challenges of the coronavirus pandemic? But failing at one aspect of life does not make you a failure. Presenting young people with challenges helps them
THE IMPORTANCE OF CHALLENGE HRH The Duke of Edinburgh recognised the importance of challenge. After his time at Gordonstoun, he first considered the idea of a national programme to support young people’s development in 1954 at the request of Kurt Hahn. The Gordonstoun School award was eventually developed into the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award and it now gives hundreds of thousands of children around the world an opportunity to take on life-changing challenges.
I can tell you from personal experience that, when you are the crew of a sailing boat in the middle of a gale on the West Coast of Scotland, there is no time to update your profile and little point in worrying about your appearance! The deep and meaningful friendships made during these experiences last a lifetime, not just for the duration of a few ‘likes’. There will always be tests of character, whether personal or professional. The
learn that moments of weakness are normal and that they need to support each
The pandemic has shown us that we can
pandemic has shown us that society
other to reach the best outcome. Our Head
take nothing for granted – that everything
needs leaders who are not only confident
of Senior School, who is a member of our
we rely upon can be turned upside down
but also resilient and compassionate. If a
volunteer Fire Service, works alongside
in a heartbeat. Our young people are
disproportionate number of tomorrow’s
pupils responding to emergency calls and
also facing an online world where they
influential individuals come from a boarding
recalls how, on several occasions, pupils
need to navigate the positives and pitfalls
school background, it will be because we
have kept him going through a long night
of social media. Boarding schools are
know how to bring out the best in each and
pumping flood water out of homes or
receiving increasing numbers of inquiries
every child, equipping them with the skills
fighting hill fires. He has the benefit of
from parents who want their children to
to navigate an uncertain world.
experience but they have youthful energy
escape from the pressures of the ‘always
and their joint skills make a winning
on’ culture and have a ‘real childhood’. As
well as providing real rather than virtual experiences, boarding schools show young
The lessons learned during these
people how to control their digital lives
experiences outside the classroom are
rather than letting their digital lives control
invaluable. Boarding schools are expert in
raising children and they understand that a good all-round education pays dividends for the rest of someone’s life.
With a degree in music, a 20-year career in media and business and ten years on the Gordonstoun Board of Governors, Lisa became the school’s first female Principal in 2017. She has three children, all at the school, represents the county of Moray at events as one of its Deputy Lord Lieutenants, conducts a local choir and occasionally joins the school orchestra when they are short of a cellist.
Chris Hillman Deputy Head Academic, Godolphin School
What do we mean by a boarder’s progress and how do schools measure it? Progress is one of those words we see a
In its most basic sense, progress is the
progress in the wider sense are likely to have
lot in education – you’ll read it in your
difference between a boarder’s starting
contributed to this effect. Outside the rather
son or daughter’s reports, on school
point and where their journey leads at the
narrow definition of progress in academic
websites and in inspection reports, and
end. In an academic sense, this is often
terms, it is more challenging to measure
there are even league tables for some
the difference between, for example, the
progress in such a quantitative way.
schools based on average academic
GCSE grades that their baseline tests, or
progress in selected GCSEs. But is this
raw ability, might suggest they are heading
Most boarding schools consider the pastoral
the only type of progress, and is it
towards and those they actually achieve
progress and the personal and spiritual
reasonable to attempt to measure this
on results day. Such progress is relatively
development of pupils to be as much a
easy to measure and report on – it is often
priority as their academic development.
quoted as fractions of a whole GCSE grade
Development of so-called ‘soft skills’ is valued
At Godolphin, through our ‘Policy for
compared to where the boarder would be
highly by employers and it is crucial to any
Progress’ we consider progress in a number
expected to be. Schools often term this
successful education to nurture these skills
of broad areas. Academic is of course
sort of progress ‘value added’, a rather
just as much as academic skills.
included but we also focus on personal and
impersonal phrase which hides the stories
pastoral progress, co-curricular progress and
behind each and every grade obtained in
We have a mental health plan to ensure
staff development (by setting a culture of
that each girl is receiving the education she needs to be able to progress positively. A key
everyone progressing and learning, we find this rubs off on the pupils too).
A study of the GCSE results at Godolphin
tenet of this plan is that we have very small
showed that our boarders made more
tutor groups of around 10 pupils. The tutors
academic progress compared to day pupils.
who look after these relatively small groups
The opportunities available to boarders to
of pupils are the focus of the provision of
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / SENIOR SCHOOLS / 129
pastoral care. Tutors meet their tutees daily and also meet frequently with each other and with boarding staff and other senior staff. Their work is coordinated by Heads of Year and the Head of Sixth Form. Academic and pastoral staff meet regularly to discuss pupils who need support and to put in place any support needed. Pastoral progress is difficult to quantify but it can be broadly measured by a combination of professional judgement and pupil selfreflection. Our PSHCEE programme and Elizabeth Godolphin Award Programme in the prep and sixth form are the cornerstones of our provision to encourage personal development. This includes inviting outside specialist speakers who give talks or workshops to the girls, staff and parents as well as sessions run by staff. All pupils attend these sessions but boarders find them especially valuable as they result in the sort of developmental and relationship
commendations are awarded for particularly
curricular clubs to progress in a certain
progress that comes from building
outstanding progress in any field.
area. Through shared experiences with fellow boarders, they gradually become
resilience, learning to lead, and developing Spiritual progress is important for boarding
more independent and able to look after
pupils and is, by its nature, impossible to
themselves and to work and live with others.
The Godolphin Learning Programme is
quantify. We consider it in terms of how
Although our digital strategy undoubtedly
an additional provision offering a diversity
the girls have grown in their understanding
impacts academic progress, it also provides
and breadth in co-curricular activities that
of how to cope when life throws things at
the medium through which pupils learn
include cultural appreciation, mindfulness,
them, and the extent to which they have
digital life skills of efficient, effective and
critical thinking, digital literacy, Bright
developed a sense of mutual respect,
organised working, another benefit of
Futures, library skills and a range of other
wonder and appreciation of the world
considering progress in the round.
topics that extend and progress pupils
around them. As a school we have strong
beyond the curriculum.
links to the diocese of Salisbury and the
Successful boarding schools play a vital
provision of spiritual learning is monitored
role in shaping a pupil’s progress towards
by the school chaplain, tutors and teachers
adulthood. The relationships developed
of relevant subjects.
with other boarders throughout their time
tolerance and mutual respect.
CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES For a boarder to be mentally healthy and for them to continue to progress as a person they need to participate in a range of co-curricular activities, from peer mentoring, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), CCF to cookery, Model United Nations and kickboxing. Boarders find these sessions very accessible as they live onsite and so can replace travel time with these activities without impinging on time needed to complete their academic work and enjoy the boarding family environment.
at school make their progress all the more Progress in these broader areas is non-
palpable as they leave sixth form to navigate
linear – there are the inevitable kinks
their own way in the world.
and twists encountered along the way. How we teach pupils to respond to those unexpected challenges sets the tone for mapping their progress. A newly arrived boarder setting out on their journey may feel a little homesick and need some help to settle into school life. Outstanding pastoral care, knowing the boarders and a good dollop of humour and patience makes
At Godolphin, tutors monitor the
the difference here. A boarder may find
involvement and success of pupils
some subjects easier than others, and this
and this information is shared with
balance may change, or they may need
parents. Commendations and Head’s
encouragement to participate in extra-
After reading Physics at university and gaining a PhD in 2002, Chris began working in the state sector at Queen Elizabeth’s School in Dorset, initially as a Physics teacher, and later as Head of Physics, and subsequently as Second in Science. Chris moved to work in the science department at Godolphin School in 2012, and began the role of Deputy Head Academic in 2019.
Educational provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities
The Equality Act 2010 has made significant changes to the law on discrimination as it affects pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and in particular the extension of duties on schools to include the provision of auxiliary aids and services, which came into place on 1 September 2012. Further guidance can be found in the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Technical Guidance on ‘Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Pupils – Guidance for Schools in England’ at www.equalityhumanrights. com/en/publication-download/reasonableadjustments-disabled-pupils Although securing support for pupils with SEND via an EHC (Education, Health and Care) Plan (formerly a Statement) remains an enormous challenge for many families, the intention of legislation over recent years has been to make schools much more welcoming and accessible to children with SEND. As a matter of public policy this is clearly a good thing and as a matter of practice there is no doubt schools have made huge progress – which is not to say they could not do even more in future. Parents should always seek to work with (not against) schools in addressing their child’s needs. In my experience, there is little a school finds more unhelpful than parents not being transparent about this. In the end, everyone is united in seeking to ensure children’s needs are met and their best interests are promoted. This article sets out a summary of the law relating to educational provision for pupils with SEND. For more information, including the SEND Code of Practice and SEND: guide for parent and carers, go to www.gov.uk/topic/schools-collegeschildrens-services/special-educationalneeds-disabilities For more information about the government’s proposed changes to SEND provisions, see its SEND Review: https://assets.publishing. service.gov.uk/government/uploads/ system/uploads/attachment_data/ file/1063620/SEND_review_right_support_ right_place_right_time_accessible.pdf
DISABILITY The definition of disability for pupils is the same as for disability discrimination in employment. In brief, a pupil with SEND has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has
a substantial, long-term and adverse effect on an individual's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. (In employment this definition has been the subject of voluminous litigation.) The definition of disability covers a broad spectrum of impairments. Disabilities may include physical conditions that affect the body, such as epilepsy or hearing impairments, learning and behavioural difficulties, such as dyslexia and autism, and mental health conditions, like depression. In general, there are specific exclusions for substance dependency, seasonal allergies, and tendencies to steal, start fires or physically/ sexually abuse. However, in 2018, the Upper Tribunal in C&C v The Governing Body of a School confirmed that the specific exclusion for those with a tendency to physical abuse towards others will not apply to children in education who have a recognised condition that is more likely to result in such a tendency. The subsequent case of Ashdown House School v JKL reiterated that schools ought to ensure that pupils with SEND who display violence related to their SEND are treated no less favourably than their non-disabled peers.
REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS As for employees, schools have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils. • Where something a school does places a pupil with SEND at a substantial disadvantage compared to other pupils, the school must take reasonable steps to try and avoid that disadvantage. • Schools are under a duty to provide ‘auxiliary aids and services’ as part of the duty to make reasonable adjustments and as such are prohibited from charging fees for auxiliary aids and services which constitute reasonable adjustments. Failure to make reasonable adjustments free of charge amounts to disability discrimination and cannot be justified. Schools are not required to remove or alter physical features (such as historic buildings) in order to comply. Instead, schools have a duty to plan better access for pupils with disabilities generally, including in relation to the physical environment of the school.
David Smellie Partner, Farrer & Co SCOPE The Equality Act requires schools to make reasonable adjustments in connection with: • admissions • the provision of education • access to benefits, services and facilities • exclusions, and/or • subjecting the pupil to any other detriment. TRIGGERS The duty to make reasonable adjustments is only triggered when a pupil suffers a ‘substantial disadvantage’. This is defined as anything more than minor or trivial, and would include for example, having to put in extra time/effort to do something, inconvenience, indignity, discomfort, loss of opportunity and/or diminished progress. WHAT IS AN ‘AUXILIARY AID OR SERVICE’? The EHRC guidance states that an auxiliary aid is ‘anything that provides additional support or assistance to a disabled pupil’ and gives the following examples: • a piece of equipment • a sign language interpreter, lip-speaker or deaf-blind communicator • extra staff assistance • electronic or manual note-taking • induction loop or infra-red broadcast system • videophones • audio-visual fire alarms • readers • assistance with guiding • an adapted keyboard • specialised computer software. CONSEQUENCES The inclusion of ‘auxiliary aids and services’ within the duty to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with SEND has clear consequences for independent schools. One obvious area is the provision of learning support for pupils with special educational needs, which is sometimes subject to an additional fee, in much the same way as music lessons. Essentially, if a pupil with SEND is ‘disabled’ for the purposes of the Act and the support provided for their SEND is an ‘auxiliary aid or service’, the school is not permitted to charge for the learning support if it is a reasonable adjustment. WHAT IS A ‘REASONABLE ADJUSTMENT’? There are no hard and fast rules about what constitutes a reasonable adjustment, since it will vary in any given situation, and the decision ultimately rests with the First Tier Tribunal
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITIES / 131
(Special Educational Needs and Disability)
unchanged and are contained in Schedule 10
Go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/
(formerly the Special Educational Needs and
of the Act)
still allowed to apply a ‘permitted form of
Sometimes adjustments will be suggested by
selection’ (i.e. an entry test) although they will
external advisors such as the child’s doctor or
need to make reasonable adjustments to such
an educational psychologist. In other cases,
tests, for example, by allowing them to be
parents may request a change on behalf of their
completed on a computer rather than by hand
child. Schools should also themselves consider
in particular cases.
Disability in Schools Tribunal or ‘SENDIST’).
whether there is an adjustment that might overcome a substantial disadvantage suffered by a pupil. Once the potential adjustment has been identified, the school has to decide whether or not it is reasonable taking into account the following factors set out in the EHRC guidelines:
• • • • • • • • •
whether it would overcome the substantial
CLAIMS OF DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION Parents of a child (note not the child themselves) can bring a claim of disability discrimination against a school. There is a time limit of six months from the date when the parents think the discrimination occurred. Such claims are heard by the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).
EXAMPLES OF REASONABLE AND UNREASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS
disadvantage practicability of the adjustment
If the Tribunal upholds a claim of unlawful
the effect of the disability on the pupil
discrimination it will not be able to award
financial and other costs of making the
financial compensation. It could order any other
remedy, such as:
whether it will be provided under an EHC
admitting a disabled pupil who had previously
(Education, Health and Care) Plan from the
been refused (this is certainly the case in
state schools, and case law indicates that
the school’s resources and the availability of
the Tribunal also has the power to order
financial or other assistance
restatement to a private school in certain
health and safety requirements the need to maintain academic, musical,
sporting and other standards the interests of other pupils (and prospective pupils).
circumstances) making reasonable adjustments such as training for staff, extra tuition, review or
alteration of policies or relocation of facilities. in Ashdown House School v JKL, the Upper Tribunal confirmed that tribunals have the
Failure to make a reasonable adjustment cannot
power to order the school to issue an apology
be justified, whereas under the old law it could
to the parents and/or the child if it would
be. The only question therefore is whether
be of some value and appropriate in the
the adjustment is reasonable. Schools are not
expected to make adjustments that are not reasonable. As well as considering reasonable adjustments for particular individual pupils with SEND, schools also have an anticipatory duty to consider potential adjustments which may be needed for pupils with SEND generally as it is likely any school will have a pupil with SEND at some point. However, schools are not obliged to anticipate and make adjustments for every imaginable disability and need only consider general reasonable adjustments, such as being prepared to introduce large-font exam papers for pupils with a visual impairment even though there are no such pupils currently admitted to the school.
PLANNING DUTIES Schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010 sets out the accessibility arrangements schools must implement for pupils with SEND. These are also known as schools’ ‘planning duties’. An independent school is obliged to draw up accessibility plans to improve access to education over time. Such plans should concentrate on three specific areas:
• • •
increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the curriculum physical improvements to improve access to education and associated services availability of accessible information for disabled pupils.
Such a strategic and wider view of the school’s approach to planning for pupils with SEND links
Independent schools are required to prepare
closely with its planning duties.
these plans in writing, and implement them
A prospective pupil with moderate learning difficulties applies for entry to a school but fails the entrance examination. Their parents argue for a reduced pass mark. However, the school is not satisfied the pupil has sufficient literacy skills to benefit from the education on offer. In these circumstances it may be reasonable for the school not to adjust its entry requirements to accommodate the pupil. The parents of a prospective pupil with dyslexia claim they should be allowed extra time and the use of a personal computer during the entry examinations. However, there is no evidence to sustain this claim. It may be reasonable for the school to reject this request. If evidence supported the claim, it is likely it would be reasonable to allow this. A sixth-form pupil who has been diagnosed with ADD finds it difficult to concentrate while reading long texts. They would like to take A Level English and ask for the entire reading list in downloadable audio form. The school accepted a similar request from the same pupil for GCSE English, which proved to be ineffective. The reading list is very long and changes every year making the cost high for the school. The school refuses. This is likely to be deemed reasonable provided the school has researched other ways for the pupil to access the reading list. A sixth-form pupil who has been diagnosed with dyslexia finds it difficult to read long texts and ideally would like all his books on audio tape. However his A-level courses have very long reading lists which change every year, and the school deems it impractical to provide every book in tape form. This is likely to be deemed reasonable provided the school has researched other ways for him to access the reading list. A pupil with learning difficulties finds it difficult to follow the more theoretical parts of classroom teaching and their parents ask that teachers go very slowly over the parts they find difficult to make sure they have understood them. However, the slow pace of delivery would prevent the other pupils finishing the syllabus and put their grades at risk. It is likely to be reasonable for the school not to make this adjustment, although other alternatives should be considered, such as extra tuition outside classroom hours, as might be offered to any other struggling pupil. A small school has little experience of pupils with SEND and is considering admitting a pupil with a rare syndrome involving moderate learning difficulties, poor muscle tone and speech and language difficulties. The Head consults the child’s parents and a local voluntary organisation and devises a series of short staff training events drawing on available expertise. This is likely to be a reasonable adjustment. A secondary school has a special unit for children with special educational needs and disabilities including pupils with a visual impairment. The school is already equipped for providing enlarged text and braille versions of documents. When working in the unit children are always provided with information in a range of formats before the lesson. This is rarely the case when the same children are working in the mainstream classes in the school. Not providing the information in time is likely to be a failure to make reasonable adjustments, leaving pupils with SEND at a disadvantage.
as necessary. Accessibility plans are subject
EXCEPTIONS There are some exceptions. Schools are: • not required to remove or alter physical features to comply with the reasonable adjustments duty (although their duties in connection with Accessibility Plans remain
to review as part of an Ofsted inspection. The Department for Education’s ‘Guidance on Statutory policies for schools and academy trusts’ states these should be reviewed annually.
David has an extensive schools practice and is widely acknowledged as one of the leading schools lawyers in the UK. He specialises in child protection, safeguarding, pupil disciplinary matters, SEND and schools-related employment issues for a client base that includes many of the UK’s best-known schools.
Special educational needs provision in boarding schools
Sally Moore Head of Learning Support, Fulneck School When it comes to education, parents want the best for their children but this may be even more important for parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). According to The Children and Families Act 2014, Section 20, ‘A child or young person has SEN if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for SEN provision to be made for him or her’. This includes dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism. Problems associated with these conditions can lead to issues with schoolwork, personal organisation, relationships with adults, developing and maintaining friendships or sensory and physical needs. Fulneck School is one of the only CReSTeD schools based in the north of England.
The Equality Act 2010 and its definition
with access to equipment and resources
of disability has given pupils who have
designed specifically for pupils with SEND.
significant difficulty in reading and
In most cases teaching takes place in small
understanding the written word, as well
classes which allows the maximum amount
as other impairments, the right to have
of time to be allocated to each individual,
appropriate arrangements for them to
who in turn is able to learn at his or her
demonstrate their abilities. The SEN Code
of Practice 2014 and the introduction of Education and Health Care plans also mean that parents have greater freedom of choice in regard to their child’s education and some authorities fund additional specialist support in an independent school. The benefits of choosing a boarding school for children with SEND include the dedicated support which is readily available for each pupil, depending on their individual needs. This extends to additional opportunities for more focused one-to-one
USING TECHNOLOGY Advancements in technology have greatly improved the education provision for children with SEND by helping to break down several barriers to learning. Equipment such as voice-activated software, reading pens, text readers and software to assist in the development of reading and mathematical skills are likely to feature strongly in the package of services available to pupils, as is the emphasis on developing typing and touch typing techniques.
tuition when required. Fulneck School is an independent boarding In specialist schools tailored curricula
and day school with a dedicated learning
are delivered by highly trained teachers
support unit (LSU) providing continuity
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITIES / 133
of teaching and support from Year 2 to Year 13. The school has met the criteria of The Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils (CReSTeD) continually since 1996 and is approved under Category LSC (Learning Support Centre) as a school offering a learning support unit, with specialist staff and
pupils a choice of fully inclusive
appreciation of the environment, teaching
teachers who can accommodate pupils’
co-curricular clubs and activities which help
methods and whether these will suit them.
needs in the classroom. The aim of the LSU
them develop new interests and boost self-
It is also important to meet the Principal
at Fulneck is to identify individual special
and understand the ethos of the school and its attitudes to SEND.
needs and to provide teaching programmes and strategies to allow every student access
An extension to mentoring and continual
to the curriculum at a level commensurate
assessment is the strong pastoral care that
All schools are different and it is anything
with their intellectual ability. Tuition is in
will be evident in most boarding schools,
but the case that one type fits all. But
small groups or one-to-one delivered by
in addition to a qualified nurse(s) who
making the correct choice from the many
experienced and specialist teachers using
can liaise with healthcare professionals
options available and the whole boarding
a range of multi-sensory teaching methods
regarding the implementation of Education
school experience can be very rewarding
and Health Care Plans and who can support
for pupils with SEND and can give them a
the wide range of pupils’ needs.
chance to really flourish and exceed their
MONITORING AND MENTORING In boarding schools pupils with SEND can also be continually assessed, monitored and mentored outside the classroom which can lead to improvements in social interaction and confidence. By the very nature of a boarding school environment, teachers and support staff can monitor the behavioural patterns of children at close quarters. This includes how they play, socialise and manage the many challenges of daily life. Boarding schools also offer
potential. Of course choosing the right school is a critical decision with far-reaching consequences and one that requires thorough research. Parents should request detailed information about a schools’ SEND provision and gain a clear understanding of which conditions they specifically cater for and how. Visiting the school and meeting the SEND team is an important part of that process, allowing potential parents and pupils the opportunity to gain a true
Sally began her teaching career as a VSO volunteer teaching English in Kiribati. She has taught in many different countries and once spent a summer teaching flying trapeze at an American summer camp. Sally joined Fulneck School as Head of Learning Support in 2019. She loves the family feel of the school and the way the adults know the children so well. In the learning support unit she is able to implement learning in the best way to suit each individual pupil.
What is CReSTeD and how does it help boarding families?
Brendan Wignall Headmaster, Ellesmere College and Chair, CReSTeD
The Council for the Registration of
dyspraxia, dyscalculia, attention deficit
more SpLD and cover all levels of provision
Schools Teaching Dyslexic pupils
disorder (ADD), as well as pragmatic and
and both state and independent provision.
(CReSTeD) is a charity set up in 1989
semantic language difficulties.
The vast majority of schools on the Register
with the aim of helping parents and
are mainstream, offering a wide range of
those who advise them to choose
The CReSTeD Council includes
teaching styles, environment and facilities.
schools for children with Specific
representatives from a wide area of SpLD
The Register is free of charge to parents.
Learning Difficulties (SpLD). It is
provision including Dyslexia Action, the
a valuable resource for parents,
British Dyslexia Association, Helen Arkell
educational advisers and schools and
Dyslexia Centre, the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust
acts as a source of information for
parents. The main SpLD is dyslexia but there is a general recognition that dyslexia rarely exists in isolation – the latest research demonstrates a high level of co-occurrence with other difficulties. These include
THE REGISTER CReSTeD publishes annually and maintains a list of schools and centres accredited for their SpLD provision – this is called the Register. The schools and centres listed in the Register provide for pupils with one or
SpLD provision is divided into six broad
categories. Of these, five are for schools:
Dyslexia Specialist Provision (DSP)
schools established primarily to teach pupils with Dyslexia
• Learning Support Centre (LSC) schools offer a designated unit that provides specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis, according to need
Without doubt it is the best decision we as a family have made and after and getting the best start in life possible. Currently stationed for their future we are immensely proud and grateful for what the in Cyprus, this can bring extra concerns with distance and travel; school is offering both Jordan and Rhys. We will never stop being a however the school understands and supports the children even BSA GUIDE BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN / SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS / 135 close-knit family2022 despite the separation, but we knowAND thatDISABILITIES Queen more to ensure they remain active yetTHE in contact withTOparents. Victoria is helping towards their future, and providing the stability Providing Skype has been a godsend. The friends that they have and ever-lasting friendship that they have been seeking. ■ made already I know will remain for life, and that is also evident
• Maintained Schools (MS) local authority schools able
CRESTED CRITERIA AND VISITS
to demonstrate an effective
Every school and centre on the
system for identifying pupils
CReSTeD Register has been
independently verified for
• Specialist Provision (SPS)
SpLD provision by CReSTeD
schools are specifically
consultants (not the case in all
established to teach pupils
Council ffor or tthe he R egistration of Council Registration Schools Teachi ng Dysl exic pupi ls Schools Teaching Dyslexic pupils
W e give give you We IInformation nformation & C hoice Choice
with dyslexia and other related specific learning
The first stage of registration
is for the school to complete
• Withdrawal System (WS) schools help dyslexic pupils by withdrawing them from appropriately selected lessons for specialist tuition and one is for centres:
• Teaching Centre (TC) designated centre providing specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis, according to need. The categories provide guidance on the type of provision given by a school. One category should not be seen as ‘better’ than another. Children have different requirements and personalities and the categories are a way of helping match each child to the type of provision at the school or centre. A report from an educational psychologist or a specialist teacher who holds an Assessment Practising Certificate should offer parents guidance as to the level of provision their child requires. For example, a child at the severe end of the dyslexia spectrum may require a Dyslexia Specialist Provision school whereas a child with only some slowness in spelling skills may be suitably provided for in a school from the Withdrawal System category. The Register includes a checklist to help parents decide whether a school or centre can meet their child’s educational needs in relation to SpLD. It also provides a geographical index of schools.
O ur advice advice is is independent independent Our b ut well well informed informed but
the CReSTeD registration form and to provide supporting
Choosing a school is one of the biggest decisions you make for your child and it is not easy
documentation, such as policies for dyslexia. This form covers staff development, admission policy, organisation
You need all the help you can get
of the school week, specific arrangements for SpLD pupils,
Our Register is available to download from our website:
examination results for the whole school and for SpLD pupils in particular, resources
www.crested.org.uk www. .crested.or t d
and a list of parents’ names so
All the e information informat you need is right there there.
that the consultant may check parents’ feelings about the school or centre. The criteria include the provision of relevant and high
Contact CReSTeD via email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.crested.org.uk Registered charity charity no. 1052103 Registered Council for fo or the the Registration Registration of S chools Teac hing D yslexic P upils Council Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils
quality information technology resources, Joint Council for
Qualifications (JCQ)-approved March 2015 training qualifications for
teachers, awareness of the needs of dyslexic pupils on the part of non-specialist staff, and arrangements to obtain and provide special provision for
with the SpLD provision in Service Parents’ Guide to Boarding Schools 35 accordance with the criteria
set by CReSTeD. This enables CReSTeD to retain the school’s details in the Register without the need for an extra visit.
CReSTeD Council initiates
During a visit to a school or
cause for concern about a
centre, the consultant checks whether this information is
‘responsive’ visits if it has any particular school.
accurate and ensures the
school or centre meets the
The CReSTeD website www.
criteria set by CReSTeD Council
crested.org.uk contains all the
for the particular category.
information in the Register. It is updated as new information
Schools and centres are
is received, or new schools
visited on a three-year cycle,
approved, and contains links to
with possible earlier visits if
the websites of all registered
there are substantial changes,
schools and centres as well
which should always be swiftly
as to other websites that may
communicated to CReSTeD. If
be of assistance to parents
the Head of a CReSTeD school
of children with one or more
changes, the school must
inform CReSTeD and the new Head must confirm that the
For further information email
school intends to continue
Brendan Wignall has been Headmaster of Ellesmere College since 1996 and is Chair of CReSTeD. After teaching English at Oakham and Christ’s Hospital, he became Head of English and Registrar of Denstone College. His main interests are his family, Ellesmere, Liverpool FC, gardening and culture in the broadest sense (excluding only country music!).
Provision in the independent sector for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities Pupils with SEND continue to be very well educated within the independent sector and this is undoubtedly one of the sector’s strengths. Many parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities take them out of the maintained sector because the class sizes are too big and they feel there is not enough individual support. The independent sector offers a range of choice not available within the maintained sector. Specialist Provision Schools (SPS) are approved for specific learning difficulties, with associated language difficulties, such as dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dyslexia Specialist Provision Schools (DSP) are established primarily to teach pupils with dyslexia. There are also mainstream boarding schools with designated units or centres providing specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis. In January 2015, 66,026 pupils (33,311 boarders) were identified as having SEND. The most common SEND is dyslexia (321,169) followed by information processing (9,053), dyspraxia (5,459), gross and fine motor skills (3,720) and Asperger’s syndrome (3,597). The table below lists independent boarding schools on the CReSTeD Register providing support for pupils with SEND.
Independent boarding schools on the CReSTeD Register providing support for pupils with SEND Specialist Provision Schools (SPS) are approved for specific learning difficulties, and associated language difficulties, dyspraxia and ADHD. Category
More House School
Dyslexia Specialist Provision Schools (DSP) are established primarily to teach pupils with dyslexia. Category
Bruern Abbey School
St David’s College
Some mainstream boarding schools have a designated unit or centre providing specialist tuition. School
Barnardiston Hall Preparatory School
Brockhurst & Marlston House Schools
Clayesmore Preparatory School
Blandford Forum, Dorset
Blandford Forum, Dorset
Cobham Hall School
Leeds, West Yorkshire
Hazlegrove Preparatory School
Kingham Hill School
Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire
Kingswood House School
Lime House School
Millfield Preparatory School
Winscombe, North Somerset
Wolverhampton, West Midlands
Wycliffe College Preparatory School
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / CURRICULUM CHOICES / 137
GCSEs and IGCSEs in a changed curricular landscape
Charlie Hammel Deputy Head Academic, St Swithun’s School, Winchester
Any parent considering a boarding school
Over many years independent schools perceived
of IGCSEs. Assessment is linear, with exams at
for their child at 11+ or 13+ entry is certain
a number of advantages in IGCSEs:
the end of the two-year course, and other forms
to discover that changes to the main curriculum options at ages 14–16 (Years 10 and 11) – GCSEs and IGCSEs – will become relevant for their son or daughter in the coming years.
• greater emphasis on breadth and depth of knowledge, in addition to cultivation of skills
• a higher degree of academic rigour • more insulation from political change • the opportunity to devote more curricular
time to teaching than to formal assessments
This is an exciting stage of education because it
• the chance for pupils to mature intellectually
of assessment, including controlled assessment, have been removed or significantly reduced. These changes are already being reflected in IGCSEs. They have been adjusted to reflect additional content in the new GCSEs, and most domestic IGCSEs have adopted the new 9–1 grading system. A series of studies published
is when most pupils have their first opportunity
with less interruption over a two-year
in 2019 showed that the two qualifications
to begin selecting some subject options and
are broadly comparable, although individual examination boards continue to refine IGCSE
determining their own academic programme. As it also leads to formal qualifications in the
More than 84 per cent of leading independent
grading on a subject-by-subject basis in order
shape of (I)GCSEs, an understanding of what
schools now offer a mixture of GCSEs and
to align the assessment as closely as possible
schools offer currently and how that is likely to
IGCSEs. This is the approach we have adopted
to that of GCSEs, an effort supported by
be affected by recent changes to the curricular
at St Swithun’s, where each subject department
independent schools and their membership
landscape is useful.
has autonomy to select the course offering the
most appropriate blend of academic rigour,
EVOLVING QUALIFICATIONS International GCSEs (IGCSEs) are longestablished qualifications, originally developed as equivalent to GCSEs for international schools. Their structure has remained essentially ‘linear’, which means assessment takes place by examination at the end of the two-year course. By contrast, before 2015 GCSEs had evolved differently and become more ‘modular’, with courses subdivided into relatively discrete units. This ‘modularisation’ was matched by more piecemeal assessment, with opportunities to complete coursework (or ‘controlled assessment’) and take some examination papers throughout the course. Recent reforms to GCSEs in England have reversed that trend by introducing new, linear GCSE courses graded on a numerical 9–1 scale, while those in Wales and Northern Ireland retain the A* to G grading system.
accessibility and progression to further study at A level. Some schools prefer either GCSEs or IGCSEs exclusively. Both qualifications are respected, valued and understood by universities and employers. There are advantages to a mixed economy of GCSEs and IGCSEs. In the examination period, IGCSE papers tend to both begin and end a couple of weeks earlier than GCSEs.
ADVICE FOR PARENTS AND PUPILS Parents and pupils should feel able to ask informed questions about the (I)GCSE courses offered by a school, and the school should be able to explain how it has responded to curricular changes and the rationale for the combination of courses it offers. More specific questions can be posed, often on a subject level, about how each course helps to meet the needs and interests of pupils at that school.
So in a demanding time for Year 11 pupils, those studying for a mixture of the two can
Just as it is important to be aware of past trends
find that their examinations are spread over a
and recent reforms, in making subject choices
slightly longer time period, which can help in
pupils are always best advised to play to their
managing final revision and preparation. There
own strengths and select the subjects they find
are positives for schools as well. The surge
most interesting and enjoyable. The finer details
in popularity of IGCSEs over the last decade,
of structure of any (I)GCSE course should not be a
recent reforms to GCSEs and corresponding
deciding factor because after all the qualification
revisions to IGCSEs mean that for most subjects
itself only lends a structure, albeit an important
schools are increasingly able to choose from
one, for pupils’ learning at this level.
several up-to-date linear specifications. Over the past decade independent boarding schools, and independent schools generally, have helped drive a proliferation of IGCSEs within the UK. In 2017 IGCSEs reached a peak at over 48 per cent of examinations taken by Year 11 pupils in independent schools, a percentage that had more than quadrupled since 2010, when IGCSEs made up only 11 per cent of entries.
NATIONAL REFORMS The introduction of linear GCSEs, with the stated aim of making them more rigorous, has sparked renewed interest in the choice between IGCSEs and GCSEs and comparability of the qualifications. The first of these new examinations were taken in summer 2017 in English language, English literature and mathematics, and all subjects were reformed by summer 2019. In practice, the new GCSEs have taken on many characteristic features
Charlie Hammel has been Deputy Head Academic at St Swithun’s School, Winchester, since 2014. He was previously Head of History at King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham. Before that he was Head of Scholars at Warwick School, where he taught History, Politics and Latin. He read History and Medieval Studies at Princeton University and completed a postgraduate Master’s in Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews before embarking on a teaching career in independent schools.
Sixth form – future ready, set, go! Rhiannon Wilkinson Head, Ashville College The sixth-form years are great
effects of climate change? Will the
opportunities and career advice. Sixth
fun but they are also of crucial
phenomenal pace of technology
form should provide the tools young
importance. They are about getting
improve our lives for the better or
people need to flourish, no matter
pupils exam ready, university ready,
present new moral and societal
where their passions lie.
career ready – in short, ‘future
challenges? Will we be prepared for
ready’ – building strong academic
foundations and developing the
I have often said high quality English boarding education is the best in the
personal characteristics and
The role of the sixth form should
world, and parents are fortunate to
social skills for future success and
not be to create an ‘exam factory’.
have their pick of so many exceptional
fulfilment, no matter what lies
It is to provide a happy, purposeful
schools. But choosing one from many,
environment in which young people
particularly for families who are not
transition from adolescence to
in the UK, can be challenging. So what
We only need to ask ourselves the
adulthood, emerging as confident
should you look for in a boarding sixth
current big questions to understand
young people ready to face the
why gaining good results is not the
world. They can only do this if their
only goal of post-16 education. Will
sixth form offers enough choice of
we have discovered and implemented
courses, academic enrichment routes,
ways to stop or even reverse the
co-curricular activities, leadership
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / CURRICULUM CHOICES / 139
HIGH LEVELS OF ACADEMIC CHALLENGE AND RIGOUR It is important to choose a school with a strong academic culture, focused on driving up standards and results and never standing still. The proportion of pupils gaining admission to Russell Group universities should be high. Look for a good and varied range of courses, particularly A levels, including traditional subjects and your child’s intended degree-specific subjects, and BTECs. Some schools offer a range of complementary qualifications that help to open doors and stand your child out from the crowd. For example, at Ashville we offer the highly flexible OCR Cambridge Technicals in Performing Arts. We also offer courses for pupils who wish to study in the US. We are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to support pupils in gaining the High School Diploma and we offer Advanced Placement courses to give college applicants an extra edge. This year for the first time we have offered A levels in Classical Civilisation and Government and Politics. OXBRIDGE, COMPETITIVE AND INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION SUPPORT Sixth form is a time to aim high. If your child is set on Oxbridge, studying medicine or going to university overseas, the sixth form you are considering should demonstrate it is able to help them on that trajectory – the rest, of course, is up to the individual child and their hard work and commitment. At Ashville we offer a bespoke programme for pupils aspiring to Oxford or Cambridge, and for medicine, veterinary science or dentistry courses. We often involve our alumni and other members of the community in mock interviews. ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT AVENUES Increasingly, sixth forms are offering an engaging and meaningful programme of academic enrichment. The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) was created by exam boards in collaboration with leading UK universities. It is an AS level qualification, with the possibility of achieving an A* grade. Cambridge University says: ‘We welcome the EPQ and would encourage applicants to take one as it will help to develop independent study and research skills valuable for higher education.’ The Archbishop of York Leadership Award is another qualification
geared to individuals’ interests, skills
when they are happy. The activities sixth-
and future aspirations. It is also highly
formers pursue should also be relevant
regarded by the UK’s leading universities.
to their future and to the advancement
These pupil-led qualifications can be taken
of technology and how this transforms
alongside A levels, earn UCAS points and
jobs. At Ashville we are developing the
enable pupils to make their voices heard at
co-curricular experience to reflect the
a young age.
World Economic Forum’s ‘top 10 job skills of tomorrow’ by offering activities such
POSITIONS OF LEADERSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITY Ambitious pupils are keen to take on extra challenges and broaden their horizons. Good sixth forms offer a wide range of opportunities, from prefect positions and house captains to more informal roles, all of which enable pupils to develop skills such as public speaking and communication. More formal leadership roles, such as the Red Tie Prefects at Ashville, involve a formal application and interview process, emulating a university or apprenticeship. A TAILORED CO-CURRICULAR PROGRAMME Good schools recognise the major benefits of co-curricular activities for health and attainment – pupils learn best
as coding, leadership and enterprise. Having a ‘future ready’ focus will ensure sixth-formers leave with not only the right qualifications but also the in-demand skills they need to thrive in the rapidly evolving global marketplace.
Rhiannon Wilkinson is the eleventh and first female Head of Ashville College. Her career includes a Headship at Wycombe Abbey and teaching and senior positions in schools in the UK, Hong Kong and Brunei. Most recently, Rhiannon was the founding Head of Whittle School Shenzhen which opened simultaneously alongside its sister school Whittle School Washington DC. Between 2009 and 2013 she was the Principal of Harrogate Ladies’ College. She studied Modern History at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, before undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) at Bath University.
Sixth-form programmes – the choice Students entering the sixth form have a range of options as shown below. Most schools offer a combination. The Cambridge Pre-U is being withdrawn. The last entry is 2021 with last examinations in 2023 (last resit June 2024). We have therefore removed this qualification from the table. A level
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
Who is it for?
16 to 19 year olds
16 to 19 year olds
16 to 19 year olds
16 to 19 year olds
What can you study?
Most students study three or four A levels.
Six subjects (three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level). All students must study literature, a foreign language, a humanities subject, a natural science and mathematics.
Level 3 qualifications, Extended Certificate equivalent to 1 A level, Diploma to 2 A levels and Extended Diploma to 3 A levels. Certificate is equivalent to 1 AS level.
Three A-level subjects in any academic discipline.
How does it work?
The linear A level was introduced with first examination in 2017. Students can take a freestanding AS level but it no longer forms part of the A level. The A level is assessed after two years of study.
Over two years, in addition to their six subjects, students complete a 4,000-word Extended Essay and a Theory of Knowledge course, and participate in the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme. All exams are taken at the end of the second year of study, there are no modules. Conceived as a holistic integral programme bound by a clear philosophy.
BTECs are offered across 16 sectors and comprise core and optional units. The courses are assessed internally and externally and some modules can be retaken. Assignments can include exams, essays, research and investigative projects, and experiments and fieldwork.
In addition to their three A levels, students complete an Extended Project Qualification that aims to make them responsible for their own learning; achieve breadth through an AS level in Critical Thinking, Citizenship, General Studies, Science in society or World development; and undertake enrichment activities outside the curriculum such as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
What is it worth?
The table below shows the UCAS tariff points awarded for linear A levels.
The table below shows the UCAS tariff points awarded for the IB Certificate in Higher Level. Certificates in Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge also attract UCAS tariff points when the certificates have been taken individually.
95% of universities accept BTECs, but acceptance may be course-dependent. Grading is from Distinction*, Distinction, Merit, Pass. UCAS points for double grades for Diplomas (and triple grades for Extended Diplomas) are calculated from the points for single grades.
Maximum 216 UCAS tariff points for three A* A levels, grade A* Extended Project (28 points) and a standalone AS level at grade A (20 points).
Tariff Diploma points
Where can you study it?
Schools and FE colleges.
115 schools and colleges in the UK offer the IB Diploma.
Schools and colleges – some students study across two institutions or alongside employment or an apprenticeship.
UK schools which believe A levels are not, in themselves, sufficient preparation for university.
Still the best-known sixthform qualification in the UK, and taken by the largest number of students as their means of entry into higher education. Some schools offer the Extended Project Qualification in addition to A levels.
Internationally recognised and valued. Heavier class-based workload than A levels and more independent learning. The percentage of candidates achieving the different grades has remained constant over the years.
BTECs are highly regarded, offering a well-proven route into employment, training and university. Modular assessment, focus on skills and opportunities for work experience make them an attractive complement to A levels as well as a very useful standalone qualification. They are becoming more popular in schools, usually alongside one or two A levels. Sports Science and Business Studies are popular.
AQA Baccalaureate is derived in large part from the spirit of the IB Diploma Programme: depth, some breadth, thinking and research skills, and co-curricular experience.
To find out more, go to www.ucas.com/undergraduate/applying-university/ucas-undergraduate-getting-started
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / APPENDIX / 141
? “Deciding to invest in education can be the most important decision a parent makes.”
School fee planning Deciding to invest in education can be the most important decision a parent makes. But operating a school is expensive. Almost two-thirds of the cost is in staff, the most valuable resource a school has. Money is also needed to pay for facilities, utilities, food and teaching resources. There can be a wide range in fees to cover this cost according to age group, the school and what it offers. Extras add
Andrew Ashton Bursar, Radley College
to the bill and schools have different
termly boarding fee was £12,344. So it
the equity in the family house to spread
approaches to this, so it is worth
is important to prepare for paying fees.
fees over the term of the mortgage.
Financial planning can help reduce the
burden, so do take professional advice.
PLANNING FOR SCHOOL FEES Fees for a boarding education from 13 to 18 vary from £60,000 (in a state boarding school where tuition is paid by the state) to more than £200,000. In 2021–22 the ISC census reported that the average
Planning should consider the following.
SPREADING THE COST Schemes can help spread fee payments over a longer period to make them more affordable. One way of doing this is against
INVESTING A LUMP SUM Early investment reduces the need to use earnings for fees in later years. This approach can be tailored to individual requirements. Some schools offer schemes for advance fee payment; if you have a lump sum available, this is worth exploring.
REGULAR SAVING Regular saving should start as soon as
otherwise be unable to enter the school.
be honorary accolades that come with no
possible. The longer you save, the less the
Parents will usually be asked to complete
fee discount. In general, schools limit the
reliance on earnings when fees fall due.
an application, providing details of their
value of scholarships, such that any extra
financial circumstances with supporting
funding being awarded is strictly subject to
Other educational awards
Charitable trusts can help in cases of
Many schools offer awards to children of
need. For example, the Royal National
members of the Armed Services, clergy,
Children's SpringBoard Foundation (RNCSF)
teachers or other professions. Some
supports children in the UK who are from
support children of former pupils, single-
challenging circumstances. The charity
parent families and orphans, or offer
helps by providing grants and boarding
concessions for siblings.
PAYMENT PROTECTION It is important to ensure the payment of fees can continue in the event of a change in circumstances. A lump sum can be provided by life insurance. Income protection plans can provide income in the event of specified illnesses or accidents. Fees refund schemes can provide cover in the event of absence through illness or accident. TRUST PLANNING Trust planning can be useful to make provisions for school fees and achieve inheritance tax benefits. Financial advice should be sought when establishing trusts. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE Bursaries Many schools offer bursaries to help parents pay fees. These are awarded after a ‘means test’ of family income. Bursaries may be awarded in addition to a scholarship where financial need is demonstrated, and the child would
school places for children who have suffered trauma, tragedy or neglect in their
There is much to consider and a great
young lives. Details can be found at
deal of financial help available. Read this
www.royalspringboard.org.uk or through
Guide thoroughly and explore schools’
the Directory of Grant Making Trusts at
websites. Above all, do not be afraid
to ask schools how they can support your family. It can be a lengthy task, but
potentially very worthwhile. Plan early and
Many schools offer scholarships to attract
talented pupils. A scholarship is awarded for academic promise or based on ability in music, art or another specialism or allround merit. They are usually awarded after a competitive examination and interview and take no account of financial need. Scholarships vary in value – they may
FURTHER INFORMATION SFIA School Fees Planning Tel: 0845 4583690 email@example.com www.schoolfeesadvice.org Andrew Ashton was educated at Newcastle Royal Grammar School and Oxford University. After a career at Barclays and in consulting, Andrew has been Bursar at Radley College since 2008. Andrew has also served as a governor at a number of schools.
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / APPENDIX / 143
Useful contacts GENERAL INFORMATION
Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA)
Disability Rights UK
Naval Families Federation (NFF)
BSA State Boarding Forum (SBF)
Army Families Federation (AFF)
SPECIALIST SCHOOLS INFORMATION
RAF Families Federation
Independent Schools Council (ISC)
Choir Schools’ Association (CSA)
Department for Education (DfE)
Music and Dance Scheme
ISC CONSTITUENT MEMBER ASSOCIATIONS
Association of Governing Bodies of
Independent Schools Show
RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS INFORMATION
Independent Schools (AGBIS)
INFORMATION FOR OVERSEAS PARENTS AND BOARDERS
Methodist Independent Schools Trust
BSA Certified Guardians
Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) www.gsa.uk.com Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC)
Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference
(CISC) BSA Certified Agents
Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS)
OTHER USEFUL CONTACTS
Welsh Independent Schools Council (WISC) British Council
Independent Schools Association (ISA) www.isaschools.org.uk
www.britishcouncil.org Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS)
www.scis.org.uk Inspiring The Future
Council of British International Schools (COBIS)
Society of Heads Independent Schools Examinations Board
UK Council for International Student Affairs
www.ukcisa.org.uk Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) www.isi.net
qualifications and skills (UK ENIC) www.enic.org.uk
UK National Information Centre for global
Independent Schools’ Bursars Association (ISBA)
International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITIES (SEND) INFORMATION
British Dyslexia Association (BDA)
Universities and Colleges Admissions Service
Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils (CReSTeD)
Educational Trusts’ Forum
Royal National Children’s SpringBoard
Foundation (Royal SpringBoard) www.royalspringboard.org.uk
BSA member schools UK MEMBERS Abberley Hall School Abbey College, Cambridge Abbey College, Manchester Abbotsholme School Abingdon School Abrar Academy ACKWORTH SCHOOL ACS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL COBHAM Adcote School Al Jamiatul Islamiyyah Aldenham School Aldro School Aldwickbury School All Hallows School Ampleforth College Appleford School Ardingly College Ardvreck School Ashfold School Ashford School Ashville College Atlantic College Aysgarth School BADMINTON SCHOOL Barnard Castle School Barnardiston Hall Preparatory School Bath Academy Battle Abbey School Beachborough School Beaudesert Park School Bedales (incl Prep) Bede’s Preparatory School Bede’s Senior School Bedford School Bedstone College Beech Grove School and Academy Beechen Cliff School Beechwood Park School Beechwood Sacred Heart School Beeston Hall School Belhaven Hill School Bellerbys College Brighton Bellerbys College, London Belmont School Benenden School BERKHAMSTED SCHOOL Bethany School Bilton Grange School Bishop’s Stortford College (incl Prep) Bishopstrow College Bloxham School Blundell’s School Bootham School Bosworth Independent College Boundary Oak School Bournemouth Collegiate School Box Hill School Bradfield College Brambletye School Bredon School Brentwood School BRIGHTON COLLEGE Bristol International College Brockhurst And Marlston House Schools Brockwood Park School BROMSGROVE SCHOOL (INCL PREP) Brooke House College Brookes United Kingdom Bruern Abbey School Bruton School for Girls (Incl Prep) Bryanston School Brymore Academy
Buckswood School BURFORD SCHOOL Burgess Hill Girls Caldicott Preparatory School Cambridge Tutors College Campbell College Canford School Cardiff Academy Sixth Form College Cardiff Sixth Form College Cargilfield Preparatory School Casterton Sedbergh Preparatory School Caterham School CATS College, Cambridge CATS College, Canterbury CATS College, London Chafyn Grove School Charterhouse School Chase Grammar School Cheam School Cheltenham College (incl Prep) Cheltenham Ladies’ College Cherwell College Oxford Chetham’s School of Music Chigwell School Christ Church Cathedral School Christ College, Brecon Christ’s Hospital School CITY OF LONDON FREEMEN’S SCHOOL Claremont School Clayesmore Preparatory School Clayesmore School Clifton College Clifton College Preparatory School Cobham Hall School Colchester Royal Grammar School Concord College Copthorne Preparatory School Cothill House School Cotswold Chine School Cottesmore School Cranbrook School Cranleigh School (Incl Prep) Culford School (Incl Prep) Cumnor House School Cundall Manor School Dallam School Darul Uloom Dawatul Imaan Darul Uloom London School DAUNTSEY’S SCHOOL David Game College Dean Close Preparatory School Dean Close School Dean Close St John’s DENSTONE COLLEGE DLD COLLEGE, LONDON Dollar Academy Dorset House School Dover College d’Overbroeck’s DOWNE HOUSE SCHOOL Downside School Dragon School DULWICH COLLEGE Dulwich Preparatory School, Cranbrook Durham School Eagle House School Earlscliffe Eastbourne College Edgeborough School Ellesmere College Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School Elmhurst Ballet School, Birmingham
Elstree School Embley Epsom College Eton College Exeter Cathedral School Exeter College Fairview International School Farleigh School Farlington School Farringtons School FELSTED SCHOOL (INCL PREP) Feltonfleet School FETTES COLLEGE (INCL PREP) Five Islands Academy Foremarke Hall, Repton Preparatory School Forres Sandle Manor School Framlingham College Preparatory School Frensham Heights School (Incl Junior) Frewen College Fulneck School Fyling Hall School Trust LTD George Watson’s College GIGGLESWICK SCHOOL Glenalmond College Godolphin School Godstowe Preparatory School GORDON’S SCHOOL Gordonstoun (Incl Junior) Great Ballard School Gresham’s School (incl Prep) Haberdashers’ Adams Haileybury Hall Grove School Handcross Park School Hanford School Harrogate Ladies’ College Harrow School Hatherop Castle Prep School HAZLEGROVE PREPARATORY SCHOOL Headington School Heath Mount School Heathfield School Hereford Cathedral School Highfield School Hockerill Anglo-European College Holmewood House School Holmwood House School (incl Prep) Holyport College Horris Hill School Hurstpierpoint College Hurtwood House School International School of Creative Arts Ipswich High School Ipswich School Jamea Al Kauthar Jamia Al - Hudaa Jersey College for Girls Junior King’s School, Canterbury Kensington Park School Kent College Nursery, Infant and Junior School Kent College, Canterbury Kent College, Pembury (Incl Prep) Keswick School Kilgraston School Kimbolton School King Edward’s School, Witley King William’s College, Isle of Man Kingham Hill School Kings Bournemouth King’s College School, Cambridge King’s College, Taunton King’s Hall School
King’s School, Rochester (Incl Prep) KING’S SCHOOL, BRUTON King’s School, Ely (Incl Junior) Kingsley School Kingswood Preparatory School KINGSWOOD SCHOOL Kirkham Grammar School Kitebrook Prep School Lambrook School LANCASTER ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL Lancing College Langley School Lathallan School LEIGHTON PARK SCHOOL Leweston School (Incl Prep) Lime House School Lincoln Minster School Liverpool College Llandovery College Lockers Park School Lomond School Longridge Towers School Lord Wandsworth College Loretto School (Incl Junior) LOUGHBOROUGH GRAMMAR SCHOOL Luckley House School Lucton School (incl Prep) LUDGROVE SCHOOL LVS Ascot Maidwell Hall School Malvern College Malvern St James Marlborough College Marlborough House School Marymount London MAYFIELD SCHOOL Merchiston Castle School Mill Hill School Foundation Millfield Preparatory School Millfield School MILTON ABBEY SCHOOL MONKTON COMBE PREPARATORY SCHOOL MONKTON COMBE SENIOR SCHOOL Monmouth School for Boys Monmouth School for Girls Moor Park School Moorland School More House School Moreton Hall School Moulsford Preparatory School Mount Kelly School (Incl Prep) Mount St Mary’s College Mowden Hall School Moyles Court School MPW London Myddelton College New Hall School North London Grammar School Northbourne Park School Oakham School Old Buckenham Hall School Old Swinford Hospital Orwell Park School Oswestry School Oundle School Oxford Sixth Form College Packwood Haugh School Padworth College Pangbourne College Papplewick School Perrott Hill School
Peter Symonds College Pinewood School Plymouth College Pocklington School (Incl Prep) Port Regis Preparatory School Prestfelde School Prior Park College Prior’s Field School Queen Anne’s School Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate Queen Margaret’s School Queen Mary’s School Queen Victoria School Queen’s College, Taunton (Incl Prep) Queenswood School Radley College Ratcliffe College (Incl Prep) Reading School Reddam House Berkshire Reed’s School Rendcomb College REPTON SCHOOL Richard Huish College Riddlesworth Hall Preparatory School Rikkyo School in England Ripon Grammar School RISHWORTH SCHOOL Rochester Independent College Rockport School Roedean School Rookwood School Rossall School Royal Alexandra & Albert School ROYAL HIGH SCHOOL, BATH Royal Hospital School Royal Russell School Rugby School Ruthin School Ryde School with Upper Chine Rye St Antony School (Incl Prep) S.Anselm’s Preparatory School Saint Felix School Saint Ronan’s School Salisbury Cathedral School Sandroyd School Scarborough College Scarisbrick Hall School Seaford College (Incl Prep) Sedbergh School Sevenoaks School Sexey’s School Shaftesbury School SHEBBEAR COLLEGE Sherborne Girls Sherborne Preparatory School Sherborne School SHERFIELD SCHOOL Shiplake College SHREWSBURY SCHOOL Sibford School Sidcot School Slindon College St Andrew’s Preparatory School, Eastbourne St Andrew’s School, Pangbourne St Bees School ST CATHERINE’S, BRAMLEY St Christopher School St Clare’s, Oxford St David’s College, Llandudno St Edmund’s School, Surrey St Edmund’s College & Prep School, Hertfordshire
St Edmund’s School, Canterbury (Incl Junior) St Edward’s Oxford St Francis’ College St George’s School, Ascot ST GEORGE’S SCHOOL, HARPENDEN St George’s School, Windsor St George’s, Edinburgh St Hugh’s Prep School, Lincolnshire St Hugh’s Prep School, Oxfordshire St John’s College School, Cambridge St John’s College, Southsea St John’s Beaumont Preparatory School St John’s School, Leatherhead St John’s School, Sidmouth St Joseph’s College (Incl Prep) St Lawrence College (Incl Junior) ST LEONARDS SCHOOL, FIFE St Margaret’s School, Bushey ST MARY’S CALNE St Mary’s Music School St Mary’s School, Ascot St Mary’s School, Cambridge St Michael’s School St Paul’s School, London St Peter’s Prep School St Peter’s School, York (incl St Olave’s) ST SWITHUN’S SCHOOL St Teresa’s School Stamford Endowed Schools Stamford Junior School Stephen Perse Foundation Stewart’s Melville College STEYNING GRAMMAR SCHOOL Stoke College Stonar School STONYHURST COLLEGE Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall Stover School (Incl Prep) Strathallan School (Incl Prep) Summer Fields School Sunningdale School Sutton Valence School (incl Prep) Swanbourne House School Talbot Heath School (Incl Junior) TASIS, The American School in England Taunton Preparatory School Taunton School Teikyo Foundation School Terra Nova School Terrington Hall School Tettenhall College The Chorister School The Downs Malvern THE DUKE OF YORK’S ROYAL MILITARY SCHOOL The Elms School The Hammond School The King’s School, Canterbury THE LEYS SCHOOL The Mary Erskine School The Montessori Place, Hove The Mount School The National Mathematics and Science College The New Beacon School The Oratory Preparatory School The Oratory School The Pilgrims’ School The Prebendal School The Purcell School for Young Musicians The Read School The Royal Ballet School The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe
Boarding School Maga
The Royal Masonic School for Girls The Royal School, Armagh The Royal School, Dungannon The Royal School, Surrey THE ROYAL SCHOOL, WOLVERHAMPTON The Thomas Adams School The Wellington Academy Thetford Grammar School Thornton College Tonbridge School Trent College Tring Park School for the Performing Arts Trinity School Truro High School for Girls (Incl Prep) Truro School Tudor Hall School Twyford School Uppingham School Victoria College, Belfast Vinehall School Walhampton School Warminster School (Incl Prep) Warwick School Wellesley House School Wellington College Wellington School WELLS CATHEDRAL SCHOOL (INCL PREP) West Buckland School West Hill Park School Westbourne House School Westbourne School Westminster Abbey Choir School Westminster Cathedral Choir School WESTMINSTER SCHOOL, WESTMINSTER Westonbirt School (Incl Prep) Whitgift School Winchester College Winchester House School Windermere School Windlesham House School Wisbech Grammar School Witham Hall School WOLDINGHAM SCHOOL Woodbridge School Woodcote House School Woodhouse Grove School Worksop College (Incl Prep) Worth School Wrekin College Wychwood School (Oxford) Ltd Wycliffe College (incl Prep) Wycombe Abbey WYMONDHAM COLLEGE Wymondham College Prep School Yehudi Menuhin School
College du Leman International School, Switzerland Complejo Educativo Mas Camarena, Spain Ecole Jeannine Manuel, France Exupery International School, Latvia Glenstal Abbey School, Ireland Institut Montana Zugerberg, Switzerland International School Eerde, Netherlands International School of Milan International School San Patricio Toledo John F Kennedy International School, Switzerland Kilkenny College, Ireland King’s College, The British School of Madrid, Spain The Koc School, Turkey La Garenne, Switzerland Laude Lady Elizabeth School, Spain Leysin American School, Switzerland Lundsbergs Skola, Sweden Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz, Switzerland Midleton College, Ireland Open Gate Boarding School, Czech Republic Préfleuri International Alpine School Rathdown School, Ireland Rockwell College, Ireland Schule Schloss Salem, Germany Sigtunaskolan Humanistiska Läroverket, Sweden Sotogrande International School, Spain St Columba’s College, Ireland St George’s International School, Germany St George’s International School, Switzerland St Gilgen International School GmbH, Austria St John’s International School, Belgium St Louis School Milan St Peter’s International School, Portugal Surval Montreux, Switzerland The International School of Paphos, Cyprus The Kings Hospital, Ireland Villiers School, Ireland
EUROPEAN MEMBERS A+ World Academy, Switzerland Aiglon College, Switzerland Alexandra College, Ireland Amadeus International School, Austria American Collegiate Institute, Turkey Apex 2100, France Berlin Brandenburg International School, Germany Bestepe College, Turkey Blackrock College, Ireland Brillantmont International School, Switzerland Cabella International Sahaja School, Italy Clongowes Wood College, Ireland College Alpin Beau Soleil, Switzerland College Champittet, Switzerland
Assam Valley School, India Atlantic Hall School, Nigeria Avi-Cenna International School, Nigeria Braeburn Schools Brisbane Grammar School, Australia British International School Lagos Bromsgrove International School, Thailand Dalian American International School (Nord Anglia Group), China Day Waterman College, Nigeria Dulwich College Suzhou, China Episcopal High School, USA Epsom College in Malaysia Fay School, USA Fettes College, Guangzhou Frensham, Australia Greensteds International School, Kenya Hangzhou Greentown Yuhua School, China Harrow Innovation Leadership Academy Chongqing Harrow Innovation Leadership Academy Nanning Harrow International School Shenzhen Qianhai Harrow Innovation Leadership Academy Zhuhai Harrow International School Bangkok, Thailand Harrow International School Haikou Harrow International School, Hong Kong Idyllwild Arts Academy, USA ISA Science City International School Guangzhou Jerudong International School, Brunei Kincoppal-Rose Bay, Australia King Henry VIII College, Malaysia Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar, Malaysia
All highlighted schools have advertised in this issue of the Guide.
Lady Eleanor Holles International School Foshan, China The Lawrence School, Lovedale, India The Lawrence School, Sanawar, India Letovo School, Russian Federation Marlborough College, Malaysia Merchiston International School, China Methodist Ladies’ College, Australia Michaelhouse, South Africa Miles Bronson Residential School, India MIT Pune’s Vishwashanti Gurukul, India New School Georgia Nord Anglia Chinese International School, Shanghai, China Nord Anglia School, Beijing, Fangshan Nord Anglia School, Foshan Nord Anglia School, Guangzhou, Panyu Nord Anglia School Jiaxing, China Nord Anglia School, Nantong Nord Anglia School, Ningbo, Fenghua Nord Anglia School, Shenzhen Nord Anglia School, Suzhou North London Collegiate School, Jeju, Korea NUCB International College, Japan Peponi School, Kenya Pinegrove School, India Prem Tinsulanonda International School, Thailand Pymble Ladies’ College, Australia Regents International School Pattaya, Thailand Rong Qiao Sedbergh School Rugby School Thailand School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) The Scindia School, Gwalior, India Sela Qui International School, India Shattuck-St Mary’s School, Malaysia St Andrew’s College, South Africa St Andrew’s Prep School Turi, Kenya St Andrew’s Senior School Turi, Kenya St Christopher Schools, Kenya St George’s College, Argentina Swiss International Scientific School Dubai, UAE The British School of Lome’, Togo The Doon School, India The Forman School, USA The Hill School, USA The Hun School of Princeton, USA The International School of Penang (Uplands), Malaysia The International School, Bangalore, India The King’s School, Australia The Mayo College, India The Regent Secondary School, Nigeria Toowoomba Anglican School, Australia United World College South East Asia, Singapore Wellington College International Tianjin, China Welham Boys’ School, India Welham Girls’ School, India Westlake International School, Malaysia Windsor High School at Albany, Bahamas Woodstock School, India Whanganui Collegiate School, New Zealand Wycombe Abbey School Changzhou, China Wycombe Abbey School Hangzhou, China Wycombe Abbey School, Hong Kong Wycombe Abbey School Nanjing, China Yew Chung International School of Qingdao, China Yew Wah International Education School of Guangzhou , China Yew Wah International Education School, Zhejiang Tongxiang Campus, China Yew Wah School of Shanghai Changning, China Yew Wah International Education School of Shanghai Lingang, China
THE BSA GUIDE TO BOARDING SCHOOLS • AUTUMN 2022 / APPENDIX / 147
An HMC boarding and day school educating 360 boys and girls aged 13 to 18
This is King's Bruton
Virtual Open Day
www.kingsbruton.com To arrange a visit to the School and have a tour with the Headmaster, or to arrange a video call, please contact the Registrar, Gilly Bunday firstname.lastname@example.org
BSA Parents Guide and Services Guide.indd 1
Boarding at Dulwich College Dulwich College is one of the UK’s leading independent schools with an international reputation for academic excellence and a boarding community of over 20 nationalities. Find out more at www.dulwich.org.uk
Historic and award-winning buildings in a 70-acre campus, only 12 minutes from central London
Outstanding facilities for science, art, music, drama and sport
ADVERTORIAL MRS KATE HAWTIN, HEAD OF SIXTH FORM AND MRS HELEN HARKNESS, SENIOR BOARDING HOUSEMISTRESS We are extremely proud that St Catherine’s was a winner in the Boarding Schools’ Association ‘Supporting Excellence Awards’ in recognition of The 6 – our new home for sixth form day and boarding students opened in Spring 2021. The 6 was designed by IID Architects, with alumna Helen Whateley (Year of 2008) leading the process.
“The new facilities are very impressive. Of particular note was the naming of the spaces after inspirational women. It is hoped that the new facilities will be an inspiration for the young women at St Catherine’s, Bramley!” THE JUDGES One of the major benefits of boarding at St Catherine’s, whether entering at 11, 13 or 16, is the development of firm and lifelong friendships as well as the opportunity to enjoy being part of a strong, supportive, happy and global community. Through boarding our girls develop a strong sense of independence, allowing them to gain confidence, learning crucial life skills and gaining a healthy respect for individuality as they learn from others. With no commute, girls have extra time to pursue extra-curricular activities, with access to our sports, arts and music facilities long into the evening. In Bronte House, girls from 11-13 live in a homely and secure environment, cared for by resident staff who are also academic teachers. They provide a routine and structure through extra-curricular fun, homework, supper and lights-out that gives girls a solid foundation as they grow from children into their teenage years.
“We learn to be more considerate because we are living in a community and everyone is always thinking of others, making boarding a happy place to live in, just like a family.” CURRENT PUPIL In the sixth form, we provide an environment that encourages girls to work hard and play hard, that gives them the confidence to aim for and achieve high standards whilst also having fun! Our girls contribute increasingly to the running of the school, affording them valuable leadership experience whilst acting as role models for the younger girls. When all our girls go on to further education, it is with a sense of achievement, purpose, and a strong awareness of their place in the world as young women with an extraordinary potential.
GSA Day & Boarding School since 1885 | 4 - 18 years
We are welcoming more and more girls in Year 7 at the start of their journey and spaces in our new and award winning Sixth Form boarding house, ‘The 6,’ are in demand. We firmly believe in the benefits of boarding, amongst them:
• • • • • • •
increased independence and resourcefulness the ability to organise academic, social and extra-curricular time learning to develop positive emotions and relationships the care and support of a global community access to the School’s facilities before and after the School day open-mindedness, empathy and understanding that comes from living with others reduced self-consciousness and acceptance of difference
CONSIDERING BOARDING AT 11 AND OR AT 16 READY TO TRANSITION TO UNIVERSITY? Call or email for our free guides: email@example.com 00 44 (0) 1483 899609 www.stcatherines.info/boarding
We made friends for life
at T he Leys
Achieve the exceptional at Cambridge’s leading co-educational boarding and day school for ages 11-18 www.theleys.net
Academic Music Choral Sport Art STEM Drama
CO-EDUCATIONAL | AGES 12-18 BOARDING & DAY IN COBHAM, SURREY
OUTSTANDING BOARDING, INSPIRED STUDENTS
A truly international boarding community with premium accommodation located close to Central London. ACS Cobham's world class facilities and wide range of challenging academic programmes help our students to feel secure, supported and inspired – so that they can be outstanding.
International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Curriculum
DISCOVER THE STAND-OUT GLOBAL SCHOOL. VISIT WWW.ACS-SCHOOLS.COM/BOARDING